Redbridge disabled facilities branded ‘inhumane’ as borough has no specialist changing places toilet

Enid Hart with her daughter Claire in Ilford High Road. Enid is campaigning for better accessible to

Enid Hart with her daughter Claire in Ilford High Road. Enid is campaigning for better accessible toilets in Ilford Town Centre - Credit: Archant

The mother of a disabled woman is calling on Redbridge Council to install a changing places toilet in Ilford, with campaigners branding the lack of facilities “inhumane”.

Enid Hart, 46, of Grove Road, Chadwell Heath, has to put her 28-year-old daughter Claire in pads when she wants to go shopping as there is nowhere to change her.

Wheelchair bound Claire suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

She cannot walk or talk and has to use a changing places disabled toilet in public, which is larger and has more equipment than normal accessible facilities to cater for people with serious conditions.

Enid told the Recorder that going to the toilet “is not a luxury”.

“When she was little I used to have to change her on the toilet floor which was disgustingly unhygienic,” the Newbridge school lunch-time assistant said.

“Now I have to put her in pads if we want to do shopping there - you wouldn’t want to leave a baby in a soaking wet nappy for a couple of hours and its the same with Claire.

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“Wheelchair users have higher rates of urinary tract infections anyway and not having a suitable toilet is putting disabled people off from coming to Ilford and missing out on our money.

“There are enough barriers as it is being disabled.”

Redbridge does not have one changing places toilet in the whole of the borough.

Enid said she was “shocked” that this was the case in the 21st century, and urged the council to install one as part of Ilford’s regeneration.

The campaign group Changing Place, which raises raising awareness about the issue, said it was “inhumane” for Redbridge not to have one changing places toilet.

“They are designed so that they have everything a disabled person and their carer will need to be treated with dignity including an adult sized changing bench and a dignity screen,” the spokeswoman said.

Cllr Kam Rai, cabinet member for finance and support services, said: “On hearing the specialist needs of Claire and other residents like her, our Labour administration acted quickly to ask officers to find a viable accessible location in the town centre.

“While we prioritise the repair from decades of Conservative neglect, this particular issue is a priority for us and we are committed to delivering it.

“I and Cllr Santos are working together to ensure residents like Claire have increased accessibility to the Borough and the dignity they deserve.”

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