You could say that the AccessAble team are a bit obsessed with toilets! They are the most talked about topic at our 100 + annual engagement events, which we host with thousands of disabled people and carers across the UK.
Over the last year our team of surveyors have spent the equivalent of 200 days collectings facts, measurement and photopgraphs about accessible toilets!
If you take a look on www.AccessAble.co.uk, or the AccessAble App, you'll find accessibility infomation for over 16,000 accessible toilets. They have a dedicated section in our Detailed Access Guides, where you can find over 200 pieces of information. That’s right, 200 pieces of information just about the loo… including location and access, features, dimensions and fixtures, colour contrast and lighting, and baby changing facilities.
Today is International Day of People with Disabilities, the theme of which this year is ‘The Future is Accessible’. AccessAble exists to make today, and the future, accessible to as many people as possible, and we know that access to toilets plays a huge part in that.
That’s why we’re launching a project to survey public toilets across the UK – including standard toilets, accessible toilets and Changing Places toilets. Our aim is to cover every publicly accessible toilet in the country!
Alongside this project we are forming partnerships with trailblazing charities who are passionately committed to raising awareness around what makes a toilet accessible. Crucially, this will include supporting people with hidden impairments who often face ignorance and discrimination when trying to use accessible toilets and people for whom an accessible toilet is not in fact accessible due to their requirements for a hoist and changing table.
Speaking about the importance of detailed information about accessible toilets, AccessAble Champion Ross Lannon, said:
“Accessing a toilet in a dignified manner is a basic human right, that many people take for granted. As a full-time electric wheelchair user, with a busy social life, I rely heavily on accessible toilets when out and about. As someone who also has a history with kidney stones, fluid intake is very important to me. Having detailed information on toilets in advance, or using the AccessAble app to find your nearest accessible loo, can be life changing. Toilet anxiety is real and is something that affects thousands of disabled people on a daily basis.”
Speaking about her experiences of discrimination and accessible toilets, chronically ill writer and blogger Pippa Stacey, said:
“There is still such a long way to go in removing the prejudice and stigma of using accessible toilets when you have an invisible illness. Even though additions such as the 'not all disabilities are visible' sign and the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme have made small but significant positive changes, many people with less visible impairments often feel uncomfortable using accessible facilities. Some have even faced abuse from misinformed members of the public, incorrectly thinking they are being an ally for who they see as the 'real' disabled population. Now more than ever, the world needs to be reminded that not all disabilities are visible.”
Speaking about the importance of Stoma Friendly Toilets, Natalie Gardner, Crohn's and Ileostomy blogger at The Spoonie Mummy, said:
“Having a leak when out and about can destroy your confidence. Having stoma friendly toilets where you can clean up, change your bag and your clothes if needed can really help you start to feel better. Trying to do it in a cramped cubicle, where people can hear (and smell) you, with nowhere to put the things you need, no sink at hand etc. is just not good enough.”
We want to end toilet anxiety, to truly take the chance out of going out, so that no one faces uncertainty about using a toilet outside of their home.
If you would like to get involved, or have an idea you'd like us to explore please get in touch.