The high-street retailer has been shamed by a mum from West Sussex on the behalf of another anonymous family (who do not wish to be identified), but were willing to share an image of their daughter.
Laura Moore, who has a disabled child herself, shared the photograph of the young girl lying on a cubicle floor next to the toilet, as she is unable to use the facilities provided at the department store in Horsham.
Moore, who is mother to eight-year-old William, said: “While everyone is swooning over how wonderful the new [Christmas] advert is... just take a moment to look at this photo which was taken in one of their stores because they don’t provide Changing Places for severely disabled people and refuse to do so.”
She also suggested that the brand do not have their priorities in order.
In a blog for Medium, the mum wrote: “You see they spent £7million on this advert, despite telling families like mine that they can’t spend £10,000 on upgrading their stores so that we can shop with them.
“But for me, this advert is just another smack in the face from John Lewis. Another reminder that my son is not welcome in their stores.”
Moore was the point of contact for the family because she is part of the ‘Changing Places’ campaign, which is calling on retailers and businesses to provide fully equipped spaces.
These bathrooms would have height adjustable changing, hoists and benches big enough to hold an adult, rather than just a baby (see below).
John Lewis told HuffPost UK they cannot have Changing Places in current stores, but would consider them for newer developments.
“We have disabled customer toilets and parent and child facilities in our shops, unfortunately due to the limited space we are unable to make the changes that ‘Changing Places’ desire at this point in time in existing shops,” said a spokesperson.
“However, we are reviewing the feasibility of putting hoists and changing benches in new department stores and including this in store refurbishment plans. We continue to work closely with shopping centre developers to influence the addition of these facilities in shopping centres.”
The brand also responded to Moore on Twitter, saying they would be working with construction teams to review if this would be feasible.
Following Moore’s post, lots of other parents shared their stories of having to change their children in a similar way.
According to the campaign, IKEA is the only national retailer in the UK who provides Changing Places in all their stores, or is currently in the process of building them.
To get involved in campaigning, parents can contact Moore via her website.