LOCAL activists are campaigning for a fully-accessible disabled toilet to be installed in Llanelli town.
They recently met with Llanelli’s MP Nia Griffith, who is also keen to take up the issue after taking part in a parliamentary event to highlight the need for a roll-out across the country.
Changing Places toilets, which are spacious and equipped with a hoist and changing bench, are vital for people with severe disabilities or conditions like multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease.
Despite this, there are none of these toilets in Llanelli town and only two in Carmarthenshire, neither of which are provided by the County Council.
Nia Griffith MP said: “For many people, knowing that there is a fully-accessible Changing Places toilet in an area can mean the difference between going out and staying at home. I was impressed by the Changing Places toilet that John Burns has installed in his farm shop in Kidwelly, but it is absolutely essential that we get one installed in Llanelli near all the town centre facilities.
“I am glad that feeling is shared by Town Council and that Cllr John Jenkins has reported back a positive response from the County Council.”
Cllr John Jenkins explained: “We have had a very positive response from Executive Board members Cllr Jane Tremlett and Cllr Hazel Evans and their staff. We are hoping for a particular unit in the Eastgate development, which we would very much like, given how close it is to the carpark, bus station, shops, cinema and theatre.
“I am told that this is currently let out to a third party who apparently only use it for storage, and that the County Council could quite possibly find them alternative premises elsewhere.”
Claire Melville is one of the Llanelli residents campaigning for a Changing Places toilet who recently met with Nia Griffith MP and Lee Waters AM. She has been working with Cllr John Jenkins, Llanelli Town Council and Josh Rosenthal, a 21-year-old wheelchair user from Llanelli, to raise the issue and lobby the County Council for help.
Ms Melville said: “As a parent of 2 Autistic sons who are still in nappies there aren’t any suitable toilets around Llanelli that we can use. We end up with them having to stand on toilet floors that are wet with urine in their socks while we get them changed.
“There are many reasons why hundreds of people in Llanelli need a changing places toilet. The standard disabled toilets just aren’t suitable for certain disabilities.”
Keith Thomas, an Ostomate living in Llanelli, added: “I feel we need a changing places toilet here in Llanelli to afford those who need it the dignity they deserve, no matter the cost of it.
“Not all disabilities are visible. As is the case with Ostomates, you just see the person not the colostomy bag. Having a Changing Places toilet in Llanelli would be such an asset and it would make the decision whether to venture out a far easier one for so many people.”