You may have seen that the AYL team recently visited the Kidz to Adultz North Exhibition, at EventCity in Manchester. These events are organised by Disabled Living, who now hold five of the largest free exhibitions in the UK. But what makes their events unique, is that they are completely dedicated to disabled children, young adults and their carers.
There are over 100 exhibitors at each event, so I will no doubt create a series of blog posts showcasing some of the fantastic organisations, charities and people we met at the event. It felt great to see so much information on display in one place, because it’s usually so hard to access/discover such resources! It really is a ‘one stop shop for the most up to date advice and information on mobility, funding, seating, beds, communication, sensory, transition, education, housing, employment, accessible vehicles, transport, style, sports, leisure and much, much more!’ To read more about this event, including the dates for next years events then CLICK HERE.
One of the first organisations we met were Mobiloo, who provide mobile accessible toilets with a changing bench and hoist for hire. I have lost count of the amount of events I have been too, which didn’t have adequate facilities for disabled guests. So I was very excited to see their accessible van in person, after reading so many positive reviews online!
Not many people know that standard accessible toilets are only suitable for people who are able to get in and out of a wheelchair. But there are still so many people who cannot do this; meaning they have to choose between staying at home, or risking injury and infection. In order for someone to change them, they have to be manually lifted out of their wheelchair and laid out on the floor of a toilet cubicle. Most people don’t even like putting their bags on a toilet floor, so why should a disabled person be forced to lie on it?! Sadly toilets with these facilities are far and few between, which is why Mobiloo was created! Initially Mobiloo was developed by an organisation called Active Impact, to provide groups of disabled children with adequate toilet facilities during activity breaks, school trips etc. But due to the ever growing demand, Mobiloo now have 7 vehicles throughout Britain! How fabulous is that?!
Hiring a Mobiloo van is an easy way for event organisers to guarantee that their facilities are inclusive as possible. It also removes all the hassle and stress for the guests too, which is something I would greatly appreciate! Earlier this year I attended a Little Mix concert at the Kent County Showground. Due to the size of the venue, large crowds and rough terrain, it made it very difficult for disabled guests to even safely get to the accessible viewing platform, let alone access a toilet. There was only one disabled toilet next to the viewing area, so you can imagine how long the queue got! As I am dependent on catheters, hygiene is super important in order to prevent infection. So knowing that portaloo’s are not exactly sterile, I planned on avoiding the toilet unless absolutely necessary. This plan worked perfectly until an accident closed the main road out of the venue, meaning we were stuck there for several hours after the concert finished. At this point I knew I had to attempt a toilet trip, but despite one of the portaloos being larger in size and having a disabled sign on the front; I couldn’t even get my wheelchair in, let alone shut the door! Due to my disability and catheter regime, I need to sit down when using the toilet (aka - I can’t hover); but this toilet was in such a state that it wasn’t safe for me to use. I was also struggling to walk at this point after sitting in my chair for so many hours, so I wouldn’t have been able to even get myself in without my wheelchair. Luckily I cannot pass any urine without a catheter, so I knew I wouldn’t have an accident on the way home. But it safe to say that my bladder was extremely full by the time I got back! It also meant I was in a lot of pain, making the journey home harder than it needed to be. Sadly the little girl sat next to me was forced to leave halfway through the concert, as she was dependent on a Changing Places toilet. This is something I found very upsetting, as nobody should be forced to leave, simply because there were are no facilities for their Carer to safely change them! I fed this information back to the event holder, but as always I am still waiting for a response! 🙄 But after speaking to the Mobiloo team I was advised to pass their details on to the Kent Country Showground, so they can try and prevent this from happening in the future.
For shorter bookings, Mobiloo are completely self sufficient. This means that they do not require any access to electric, water or waste disposal to operate. They also ensure one of their friendly attendants is on hands at all times to assist guests and to keep the van clean. Their hire costs are very reasonable, but they are mainly driven by their mission to make as many events/venues as accessible as possible. Meaning, they will offer their services for free under certain circumstances. So I would highly recommend getting in touch with them if you are looking to make an event/venue inclusive, or if you just simply want to know more!
I would love to hear if any of our readers have used or seen a Mobiloo van and if so, what you thought about it?