Mothers launch campaign to improve disabled toilets in Leamington shopping centre

From left to right: Francesca Anker with her son Ben, and Emily Naismith with her daughter Chloe
From left to right: Francesca Anker with her son Ben, and Emily Naismith with her daughter Chloe

A campaign has been launched by two mothers to improve the disabled toilets at a Leamington shopping centre after they are often forced to change their children on the floor.

The ‘No More Floor’ campaign, launched by friends Emily Naismith and Francesca Anker, aims to raise £45,000 to install a fully-equipped disabled changing facility in the Royal Priors shopping centre.

The idea was conceived by the pair after struggling to change their children in the Priors’ small disabled toilet.

Francesca’s six-year-old son, Ben, has a condition called polymicrogyria which leaves him wheelchair-bound.

Now that he is older, his size makes it a lot more difficult for Francesca to change him.

And Emily has experienced similar issues with her four-year-old daughter, Chloe, who has cerebral palsy.

Francesca said: “Both me and Emily have experience of this kind of thing.

“In order for me to change Ben I currently have to lay him down flat on the toilet floor - I have to carry a yoga mat around with me.”

“Most of the time I end up going back to my van and we have to do it there.”

“In a way I can sympathise with businesses because it’s very expensive, but the space just needs to be bigger.”

Emily pointed out that although disabled toilets allow wheelchair users to lift themselves out, sometimes a carer is needed to do that for them depending on their condition.

Emily said: “Some people have said there isn’t anywhere else to go - we know people who have brought horseboxes into town to change.

“People think it’s just disabled kids that need to use the facilities, but older children and adults need to use them too.”

The pair have said that as long as they raise the cash Royal Priors would allow the facilities to be improved.

Royal Priors has been approached for comment.

Anyone wishing to donate towards the facilities should click here or the visit campaign’s Facebook page here.