Spending Power – Does accessibility to a toilet determine where you go out?

How much is your ability to find suitable toilets away from home an influencing factor on when, and where, you go?

A new survey has highlighted that, if you or someone you care for has a limitation, the answer to that question is it has a massive impact.

The survey, undertaken by Closomat, Britain’s leading provider of accessible toilet equipment for domestic and on-domestic environments, looked at the influencing factors for disabled people when they are away from home- particularly their ability to find somewhere suitable to ‘go’.

Many disabled people(*) maintain the Regulatory (Document M type) wheelchair-accessible toilet is inaccessible to them: it doesn’t give enough space, nor appropriate fixtures and fittings to help them and their carer(s) transfer, or be transferred, safely, from a wheelchair, or be hygienic with their intimate care.

And it’s not just wheelchair users that are affected. People with continence issues, stoma, people who need a carer to help them, or have an assistance dog, all report that accessible toilets are actually in-accessible.

Headline figures of the survey

  • 91% of respondents said how long they spend ‘out’ is dictated by suitable toilets
  • 69% said where they go is usually or always influenced by toilet suitability
  • 87% had left somewhere early because of lack of suitable toilets
  • 82% were more likely to visit somewhere if they believed it had suitable toilets
  • 96% said it affected their decision on where to go.

The changes/ equipment they need, but lack, are:

  • Space: 52%
  • A means of lifting (eg hoist): 23%
  • Somewhere to be changed (adult sized changing bench): 24%

And the places they would most like to see toilets that included more space, a hoist and changing bench (aka a Changing Places or Space to Change toilet) are:

  • Town centres: 87%
  • Supermarkets: 71%
  • Pubs, bars, restaurants: 69%
  • tourist attractions: 69%

The survey highlights how something as basic as being able to go to the toilet when out and about influences where you go- whether it’s to do the weekly shop, retail therapy, have a drink with friends, or enjoy a day out.

It shows that a facility so often taken for granted by able people- is a major factor for people with limitations, and those who care for, assist and support them, when away from home.

It comes as, for the first time, the UK sees an accessible shopping day- Purple Tuesday (November 13). But we all know, if you’re going shopping, you may well need to ‘spend a penny’…..

If you can’t find a suitable loo, would you go to that outlet?

Maybe it’s worth going there,  and asking them if they could provide suitable toilets. Maybe there isn’t one because the management simply is not aware that the toilets are an issue.

There is never any harm in asking!

Closomat has produced a handy campaigner pack. Copies are available free on request: email info@clos-o-mat.com with your name and address for yours.