When you are out and about and rushing to find a loo, take a moment to reflect the state of our nation’s toilets.
There is much to be said about the great plumbing put in place by the Romans and Victorians. But modern day public ablutions are fraught with stress.
Visiting the loo often means you’re crammed in like sardines into the tinest of cubicals with no room for your bags, never mind your bum on that seat.
Disabled people make up about 18% of the population. We need more than just a bit of space for shopping. We need leg room, turning space, transferring space from wheelchair to loo, arm rests and the dignity of spending a penny without the door being open for the world to see us peeing because the so called ‘accessible’ toilet is too small to fit the wheelchair in, or even shut the door.
This blog is about accessible toilets. Or rather inaccessible accessible toilets.
Despite Part M of the Building Regulations to ensure the correct Standards, the DDA and now theThe Equalities Act 2010 often they aren’t properly accessible, and the ones that are, are usually made useless by thoughtlessness and disregard.The Equalities Act to bring in together gender, race, sexuality and disability legislation.
Disabled people cannot be discriminated or treated less favourably – the reality is we are.
It is well worth reading a really useful guide The Equalities Act 2010: What do I need to know?
The following images are courtesy of David Colley a close friend of mine and member of Pesky People – who has taken to document the sort of situations he comes across on a daily basis from businesses, pubs, hotels, high street stores and transport companies – that consider themselves welcoming and accessible to Disabled customers.
How anyone is supposed to get in with a wheelchair or on crutches. Was David or another customer to empty the room before using it to try on clothes?
Whilst you can find out useful things like whether they offer Personal Shopping, their product range and their opening times. NEXT are failing in their legal requirements to meet the needs of their Disabled visitors.
Their website very helpfully informs you that it will cost you 5p/minute to contact them to find out the facilities available in any of their stores. Why is this information not on their website.
It is not dated but the Accessibility Policy states:
” We are working to make the Next site as accessible as possible to be used by everybody. You will notice changes to the site over the coming months to help with navigation, reading text, colour schemes and use of screen readers.
If you have any questions relating to accessibility, please call our technical helpline on : 0844 844 8510.
Lines Are Open : 7.30 am – 11.00 pm Monday to Saturday, 8.00 am – 11.00 pm Sunday.
Would you want to spend your money in NEXT if this is how you are treated?
The Yard - in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne’s Gay Village