On 7th February 2016 Ted and I posted a video showing our under cover mission to find dad-friendly baby change facilities in our local town. Hopefully you’ve seen the video but if not, take a look here.
We were shocked at the major high street names that couldn’t cater for me (a dad) to change my sons nappy. Caffe Nero, Pizza Express, Strada all had changing facilities only in the women’s toilets. I have a certain level of understanding for independent establishments, where space is a major issue but these giants have no excuse.
The reason for this post however, is to tell you how the chains have responded. We approached them to ask what they made of our findings and if they had anything to say in response. Here’s what they said:
We’re disappointed to hear on this occasion we have not met expectation of Al and his son. We support the ‘dads for Change’ movement and are now working closely with our teams across the UK to improve this facility for dads, and also reviewing our facilities for parents as a whole. We look forward to welcoming Ted and his dad back to Strada soon.
We’re sorry for the inconvenience this has caused and we will review the issues highlighted in the film. We are committed to ensuring that our restaurants are family friendly; most of our baby changing facilities are accessible to both men and women.
We agree that any customer regardless of their gender should be able to use the baby changing facilities when using Caffè Nero and, in this instance, this was not the case. For that, we apologise, and we are looking at fitting baby changing facilities in the store that Al Ferguson visited in the near future.
However, that specific store is an exception. Almost all our stores have baby changing facilities that can be used by men or women. Those stores located within a shopping centre (such as the one that Al Ferguson visited) or within a Department Store are the exceptions as they tend to have toilets and facilities in the larger centre or in the umbrella store rather than in our store. That was precisely the case with Al Ferguson.
We provide private baby changing facilities for all customers in our stores. Any uncertainty in regards to this should be presented to a member of staff who will gladly direct you to your nearest baby changing room.
All positive responses in their own right, but there’s always that cynical doubt in my mind that change will actually happen. You often get campaigns that have very little impact. I’m pleased to say that this is not one of those campaigns.
I’ve just gotten off the phone with Strada who have informed me of a nationwide sweep of all their branches to check that there are baby change facilities available to dads. And the best bit is that where the facilities are only available to mums, they’re actually adding in a changing table either in the gents or the disabled toilet so that dads can access a safe and clean space to change their baby’s nappy.
That, in my mind, is a success.
Whether the other companies will follow suit, I’m not sure. I hope so, but either way the bar has definitely been set by Strada.
One thing is for sure, the support for this campaign has been overwhelming, and like I said in the orginal video, one voice will get drowned out but if we stand together united and shout about something loud enough, we can inspire change. And we have. Thank you to all who have supported #dadsforchange. It’s not over, but round 1 has gone to us dads.