World Toilet Day 2023
Right now, there are over 1/4million people across the UK living without access to appropriate toilet facilities. Many people with profound and multiple learning disabilities or with physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis often need extra equipment and space to allow them to use the toilets safely and comfortably. These needs are met by Changing Places Toilets. Changing Places Toilets enable anyone, regardless of their disability, to go to the shops, attend hospital appointments, enjoy community life, socialise and travel. All things that many of us take for granted every day.
Each year, on November 19th, the United Nations World Toilet Day is celebrated, raising awareness of all those who are living without access to safely managed sanitation and as the lead organisation in Scotland for the development of Changing Places toilets, PAMIS want to ask for your support in spreading the word about World Toilet Day as we build towards the 19th November.
This year, the symbol of World Toilet Day is the hummingbird. In the ancient story, a hummingbird does what she can to fight a great fire – carrying droplets of water in her beak. Her actions – though small – are helping solve a big problem. In the UK, we know that there’s a whole community – OUR community – who are still fighting for access to safe and sanitary toileting conditions.
We also have a very exciting project we are delighted to share with you, as our team have been hard at work creating a fantastic new toilet-themed resource in collaboration with Lochies School in Clackmannanshire. Our Inclusive Culture and Leisure Programme Development Officer for Clackmannanshire, Gill White explains more in this blog post:
“PAMIS are delighted to be collaborating with pupils of Lochies School to create and film a Multi-Sensory Story called ‘A Loo for You, a Loo for Me’, which highlights the importance of Changing Places Toilets in a fun and engaging way.
This story, which will premiere on World Toilet Day at a special event for families, will form part of a resource which can be used by other schools and communities to raise awareness of the need for Changing Places Toilets.
The Process – Creating the Film
In our first session with the pupils, we focused on making some of the items we needed for our story. We created binoculars which would help us search far and wide for toilets and we made ‘poop’ from modelling clay, which was a fun activity for everyone, adults included!
Having written the story and made a few of the essential items, it then fell to the children to decide what sensory props we would be using. We explored each line of the story and corresponding props with the pupils, paying attention to their reactions and noting how well each prop was received. Some props were hugely popular with all the children, some were immediately cast aside and some proved more popular with some than others…the burying of the ‘poop’ fell firmly into this category, with some of the expressions leaving us in absolutely no doubt that this was a simply unacceptable ask!
The school invited parents and carers to this session and it was lovely to see the parents that attended interacting with their children and exploring props with them. Seeing children interacting with their parents is always special and such a good way to get to know families.
Monday 6th November was filming day and both classes had worked so hard in preparation for this, sharing the story with each other on a number of occasions in our absence, giving the pupils time to fully explore all of the elements within the story. The classes had even recorded their own sound effects for the film. Yes, even fart noises!
We were delighted to hear about the pupils’ responses to the props and learn how children had achieved individual goals over the course of the week.
For filming, the teachers asked that each pupil be able to share their own sections of the story – lines and props that they had shown a preference for or engaged with particularly well during their ‘rehearsals’.
We didn’t rush the filming, giving the children time to interact with the props naturally, rather than ‘perform’. We wanted to capture genuine moments and let the children’s personalities shine through as much as possible in the film. Something we were very impressed by was the patience shown by the other pupils when their classmates were recording their sections, with pupils tending to watch or listen to what was going on.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and the support, engagement and enthusiasm shown by the staff throughout all of our sessions at the school was absolutely wonderful.
We are so proud of all of the children for doing such a fabulous job and are very excited to share the film with them and their families at a special Film Premiere event on World Toilet Day.
Invitations have been sent to the children taking part and their families as well as the children in our Clackmannanshire Friendship Club. Some of the pupils from EASN Alloa Academy with PMLD have also been invited and we will be visiting the Academy to share the Multi-Sensory Story with EASN pupils in person.
Special Guest Star – The PAMILOO, PAMIS’ Mobile Changing Places Toilet. Because, like our story says, we ALL need somewhere safe to pee!”
We will be sharing lots of exciting news with you over the next two weeks about the work we have been doing towards World Toilet Day and we are very excited for the film premiere on the 19th November. Be sure to follow our social media channels.
This project forms part of a wider piece of work PAMIS are engaged in to develop opportunities in the Clackmannanshire area for people with PMLD as well as increasing the number of Changing Places toilets across the region.
Find out more about the United Nations Sustainable Development goal 6: sanitation for all by 2030 and download World Toilet Day resources here: https://www.worldtoiletday.info/