A HAMPSHIRE mum who hit headlines with her ‘toilet selfies’ was invited to perform the ceremonial ‘first flush’ on a toilet at Mayflower Theatre after inspiring the venue to splash out £17,000 on brand-new facilities for disabled people.

The theatre installed a Changing Places toilet as part of its major refurbishment project which was completed at the end of September.

It came after staff heard the story of Sarah Brisdion, who caught headlines last year when she posted pictures of herself on the toilet to campaign for better public toilet facilities.

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The Hampshire mum posted a selfie from the loo every day in the lead up to Christmas to raise awareness of the poor conditions she was forced to change her son in when using public toilets.

After hearing of Sarah’s struggle and that of other parents in the area, Mayflower Theatre started its own mission to raise enough money to install a Changing Places toilet.


Now, after working hard to raise the money needed and installing the facility, the theatre has opened the new loo and invited Sarah along to give it the first flush.

The facility, which features a hoist, adult-sized changing table, accessible toilet and wash basin, makes it easier for people with disabilities to access the toilet and have their continence needs met.

Sarah, whose son Hadley has cerebral palsy, welcomed the news. She said: “I was honoured that the decision to install the new Changing Places facility at the Mayflower was down to my campaign and was particularly thrilled to be invited to give the facility its first official flush. Having a fully accessible theatre in the city will change the lives of disabled theatre lovers. Many will not have been able to experience the joy of a big production or 'West End' show before, due to the lack of facilities in these sorts of venues. I cannot thank the staff enough for working so hard to make this happen.”

Michael Ockwell, chief executive of Mayflower Theatre, said: “Live performance has the power to move and inspire, which is a wonderful thing. We believe it should be accessible to all, which is why we’re continuing to work hard to ensure people with disabilities can visit us with ease. Our new Changing Places toilet will make a big difference, as will the other improved accessibility measures we are installing as part of our multi-million pound refurbishment project.

The Mayflower turned pink. Credit David DodgeThe Mayflower turned pink. Credit David Dodge

“We hope it will encourage more families like Sarah’s to come and visit us and enjoy what this iconic theatre has to offer.”

Mayflower Theatre’s Changing Places toilet is registered with the Changing Places Consortium as being available for people in the region, so it can be used by non-theatre-goers when the theatre is open. It is the 11th facility of its type in the city of Southampton.

Among the organisations that helped to fund the initiative were The Hobson Charity Limited and Bruce Wake Charitable Trust. Staff at the theatre also held fundraising initiatives to raise money towards the Changing Places toilet including a three peaks challenge, coffee mornings and completing nine half marathons in nine weeks.

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