A Horsham woman is campaigning for more toilets specifically designed for the severely disabled after years of having to lay her seven-year-old on a ‘urine-soaked’ floor to be changed.
Samantha Buck, 40, says the only Changing Places toilet - a room equipped with hoist, height adjustable bench and privacy screen - is currently at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre.
Campaigners are fighting hard to get this facility replaced when the centre is demolished.
But Samantha is pushing for one in Horsham town centre for her son Alfie and other local families which endure the same daily plight.
“It’s impossible to have a family day out,” she said. The family will only visit town for a short while because they return home when Alfie needs the toilet.
“If we get caught short we use a disabled toilet and lay him on a urine-soaked floor. It’s awful, but this is the reality of raising a severely disabled child.”
Samantha, whose son recently won an NHS compensation package of more than £8million, claims the average disabled toilets in town are ‘for those with limps and people in wheelchairs who have upper body mobility’. She says they do not cater for someone like Alfie who suffers from cerebral palsy.
Asked why no-one has fought for more Changing Places facilities for Hosham in the past, she said: “You have to do everything for them; feed them, play for them so they can watch. So people just run out of steam trying to fight the council.”
A Horsham District Council spokeswoman said: “The changing facilities at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre have been adapted to meet the highest standards of accessibility with external funding from the Aiming High initiative. Other council managed leisure facilities have also improved toilet and changing facilities to make them more accessible for disabled people. There are however sometimes limitations in terms of available space to make the necessary adjustments to meet the standards identified by the Changing Places Consortium campaign.” She added the new centre will meet the statutory requirements for accessibility.