SPOTLIGHT ON... with Alison Beevers

Alison Beevers lives with her partner and 16-year-old son who has Cerebral Palsy and is quadriplegic.

Monday, 11th July 2022, 2:06 pm

She says: “I raise awareness for Changing Places toilets which are larger than standard accessible toilets and include extra equipment such as a ceiling hoist and

changing bench.

"In 2018 Bassetlaw District Council opened the 1000th UK Changing Place facility in Retford and continued to install more units across the county, including Worksop”.

Alison Beevers, campaigner for Changing Places toilets

Alison has worked with Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is passionate about increasing Changing Places provision in Museums and Galleries.

What 3 words best describe your involvement in Changing Places?

Access. Inclusion. Dignity.

What are your top 3 tips for running a successful campaign in Bassetlaw?

I think if you feel very strongly and passionate about a cause, it will carry you forward. I have had successes and defeats, I have had to be level headed at times especially when it's felt like I’m shouting in the dark. I’ve also had to use my creativity, ‘Toilets’ are not especially a head turner! A lot of people assume that standard accessible toilets meet the needs of every disabled person, education and informing has been key. My three tips would be to find your tribe, work at your own pace and do it your own way. Campaigning isn’t all about waving placards. For me it has been to form positive relationships and networks with individuals, public bodies and venues.

Who has inspired you the most and what is the best advice you have been given?

My son inspired me to set up a local awareness campaign for Changing Places toilets at the time when it became too difficult to meet his toilet needs safely and with dignity at a

time when there were less than 500 fully accessible Changing Places toilets in the UK. I could see his world starting to shrink. I was nervous of going public at the start but I soon

learnt that there are lots of other individuals and campaigners in our position all over the UK. They have been a great support and inspiration. My late father was also never afraid of a challenge and I think he instilled a ‘can do’ approach in me.

What makes Bassetlaw a good place to live, and to work in?

Bassetlaw is such a friendly place, just the other day a lovely stranger ordered fish and chips for my son and me as she could see we could not queue in the shop with a large

wheelchair. There are some excellent local independent local businesses out there too. I also love the fact I can be in London by train or on the top of a mountain ridge in the peak

district in less than 2 hours.

What skill would you like to perfect?

Baking. The last cake I made my partner described it as having the taste and texture of carpet underlay.

What place, business or event in Bassetlaw would you bring back if you could?

A vibrant music scene and The Porterhouse!

Name an unsung hero of Bassetlaw?

Unpaid carers are unsung heroes. Caring for a loved one who needs all-round help can be extremely demanding and isolating. I do not think there is enough recognition, value and support for unpaid carers in the UK.