* This post is not sponsored, meaning all opinions are my own and no one has paid AYL to share this. *
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, 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!"
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 number 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 can get out of a wheelchair and physically sit on a toilet (either with or without assistance). Putting anyone unable to do this at risk of injury and infection whilst using public facilities, because 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, whilst also removing any bathroom-related hassle and stress for the guests. Something I would have greatly appreciated during a Little Mix concert at the Kent County Showground earlier this year, where the venue size, large crowds and rough terrain, made it very difficult for disabled guests to safely get around. There was only one disabled toilet next to the accessible viewing area, which in turn created long queues and a very dirty portaloo! As I am dependent on catheters, hygiene is super important in order to prevent infection, so I typically try to avoid using such facilities unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, this was one of those occasions following a road traffic accident blocking the main road out of the venue, meaning we were stuck there until the early hours of the next morning! 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!
It was because of these poor facilities that the little girl sat next to me during the concert was forced to leave halfway through - THIS IS NOT OK. Nobody should be forced to leave, simply because there were are no facilities for their Carer to safely change them! Like many people, I fed this information back to the event holder, but as always I am still waiting for a response! I just hope they consider hiring mobiloo in order to prevent this from happening again in the future!
For shorter bookings, Mobiloo is 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!