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Grace's Sign Launch

Monday 21st March 2016, marked a milestone in the campaign driven by 10 year old Grace Warnock from Prestonpans, to raise awareness about the use of accessible toilets by individuals with ‘invisible disabilities’. Joined by her mum and grandmother, local councillors, Deputy Provost Jim Gilles and members of the enjoyleisure Management Team, Grace officially unveiled the first ‘Grace’s Sign’ to be installed in East Lothian at the Loch Centre, Tranent.

Grace is a remarkable young girl, with an incredible story. The Prestonpans Primary School pupil suffers from the life-long chronic condition, Crohn’s disease. Living with Crohn’s disease means that being able to use an accessible toilet when out in public is important. This should be straightforward enough, but Grace’s experience of using accessible toilets has sometimes been less than positive. This is in part due to many people thinking that if you're not a wheelchair user, or have another visible disability, you shouldn't be using them.

Grace explains, “There are children and adults with severe Crohn’s who have had to have surgery and they need to change their stoma bags when out. Doing this in a room that has a toilet and sink means that they will be able to do this in the privacy of one room. To emphasize this fact I have created a new door-sign which highlights that not everyone who needs to use an accessible toilet uses a wheelchair or has another visible disability.”

Since the launch of the campaign, Grace has achieved a great deal of support both locally and nationally, most notably from East Lothian MSP Iain Gray. He comments, “Grace has shown great determination to pursue this important issue and bring others on board with her idea. She has gained the help and support of Independent Living in Scotland and the Scottish Disability Equality Forum. I’m delighted that the first unveiling of ‘Grace’s Sign’ is here, in East Lothian; and I hope this is just the start of her door-signs going up at accessible toilets across Scotland in the future.”

enjoyleisure, East Lothian’s local Leisure Trust were approached to support the campaign by Iain Gray MSP. Inspired by the incredible courage shown by Grace, official signs were commissioned based on Grace’s original design and will be installed at each of enjoyleisure’s leisure facilities across the county.

The newly-created sign depicts a person in a wheelchair alongside a male and female with a heart icon on their chest. Beneath the icons is the description ‘Accessible Toilet’ which is displayed in both tactile lettering and braille.

From enjoyleisure Bill Axon, comments; “Living with a disability or chronic condition undoubtedly has various emotional and practical implications on individual’s lives. We appreciate that sometimes making small changes can make a big difference. It is our hope that by having ‘Grace’s Sign’ installed into each of Sports Facilities across the county we are able to make life a little less challenging for those affected.

We are absolutely thrilled to have Grace and her family, officially unveil the first ‘Grace Sign’ in East Lothian.”

Grace's Sign Launch
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