I DON’T generally come across people with profound and multiple disabilities in my everyday life – it’s a rare occurrence - and yet there are hundreds of thousands of severely disabled people in the UK.

But they may not be generally noticed because many are restricted to their homes or other care settings due to lack of suitable public toilet and changing facilities where personal care can be given.

Most of us who get out and about for a few hours have the convenience of being able to use public toilets, supermarket and shop toilets or those at a cinema or theatre – depending on where we are visiting – if nature calls.

However it is an entirely different matter for people who have severe and multiple disabilities. There are currently just 1,000 toilets in the UK fitted with equipment like a hoist and an adjustable changing bench but that could be about to change thanks to a revolutionary product being made in a little village near Pershore.

The MigLoo – a unique range of portable changing suites with a toilet – is the brainchild of Pinvin inventor John Robinson, who used to run the Pershore Care Centre and has 35 years of experience working with those challenged by profound disabilities.

Mr Robinson, who still works part-time in the care sector by providing respite care to local people with profound and multiple disabilities so their families and other carers can have a break, came up with the idea after growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of suitable facilities for those with special needs.

He and his long-term friend John Morgan from Pershore, who has vast experience of setting up businesses, created a company to help make it easier for people with this level of disabilities, together with their carers, to go out and enjoy the world beyond their homes without fear of being caught short.

The MigLoo, made in Pinvin, is basically a pop-up toilet which includes a hoist and changing bench. There are three different versions. The MigLoo Freedom is designed for individuals to buy and take with them wherever they go. It can be transported easily in a wheelchair accessible vehicle or one with a roof rack and takes one person just 30 minutes to put up and take down.

Mr Morgan explained: “It started with the Freedom because parents with children with profound disabilities could never take them out because there was nowhere for them to change. The Freedom means people who were stuck at home can now go out. You don’t need a power supply or running water – it is self-contained and fully mobile.”

He pointed out that there is only one motorway service station in the entire country – Newport Pagnell – with full disabled facilities.

The flexibility the MigLoo offers can also enable disabled people to be hoisted out of their wheelchair and lowered onto a beach or a grassed area enabling them to enjoy a trip to the seaside or a park like anyone else.

The MigLoo Festival is a larger version of the Freedom aimed at commercial buyers who run festivals and events and want to be fulling inclusive by offering full disabled facilities.

Mr Morgan pointed out that many disabled people and their carers are unable to attend outdoor events like village fetes, concerts or festivals because there are no suitable facilities.

“We took a MigLoo to a pop festival last August in Sussex and the event lasted all day. At the end a profoundly disabled chap with his carer thanked us for taking it along and said he would not have been able to stay to the end if it hadn’t been there.”

The third variation of the MigLoo is called the Naked MigLoo and that is because it is designed to go into an otherwise unused room and therefore doesn’t need the tent-like cover to provide privacy.

It can be used in shops or other commercial premises where there is a vacant space.

“We took the Naked MigLoo to a large theatre in London over a weekend and it was used 14 times. That shows it is worth it,” said Mr Morgan.

The cost of these ingenious pop-up toilets ranges from just under £6,000 to nearly £7,000 which is a fraction of the amount needed to install a permanent fully disabled facility, which starts at £50,000 and can rise to £130,000, he added.

“This isn’t about making money. It’s about changing lives, giving people back their dignity and allowing people with profound disabilities to enjoy the things we take for granted every day,” said Mr Morgan.

Many businesses claim installing a permanent facility is not reasonable due to the cost but that argument doesn’t work in respect of the MigLoo.

Wychavon District Council has been supporting the company over the past six months with specialist advice through the Worcestershire Business Accelerator programme and the product was showcased at an event at the Civic Centre in Pershore last week attended by Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston.

He said: “This product has the power to change lives and I will support it any way I can. We do need to look at tightening up the legislation but at a cost of just £6,000 it’s becoming harder for major companies making huge profits to argue against.

“I can see it will make the most enormous difference to the lives of the severely disabled if they are able to get out more and travel further if they know MigLoo is there to meet their needs.”

Melanie Hawkett, director of Freetime Care Services in Hanbury which supports people with physical and learning disabilities in the community, said: “The MigLoo Freedom has completely revolutionised the care of our patients and has physically changed their lives and the lives of their families.

“We can now go out, go to events and do things that everyone else takes for granted, for the very first time”.

Mr Morgan said there are 2,000 supermarkets in the UK and only nine have changing places for profoundly disabled people. “A lot of them are not doing it because it is not required by law.”

For more information about the range of MigLoo visit https://www.migloo.co.uk/

He said there has been international interest in the revolutionary product which includes inquiries from Dubai, the USA, Australia and Scandinavian countries.