‘Toilets are not a luxury, they are a basic right’

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

Disabled people in Northumberland could benefit from a new guide that aims to encourage organisations to make their toilets more accessible and available for people to use.

The free guide has been produced by researchers at Newcastle University, who worked with Carers Northumberland.

It is aimed at businesses and anyone who provides toilets for public use and sets out a range of low cost and easy to implement changes they can make to ensure toilets are accessible for people with additional needs and their carers.

To develop the 16-page guide, researchers talked to disabled people and their carers, as well as volunteers from a range of organisations across Northumberland including Age UK, the Alzheimer’s Association and BID Services Morpeth, who support people who are deaf, hard of hearing, are visually impaired or have a dual sensory loss.

Professor Janice McLaughlin, Professor of Sociology at Newcastle University, said: “Toilets are not a luxury – they are a basic right. For disabled people, who have complex or additional needs, having access to good quality, clean, accessible toilets that are easy to locate is vital.

“Even an everyday trip to the shops can be problematic.

“This guide aims to highlight the simple changes that can be made so that going out becomes easier for people with ‘hidden’ disabilities and they feel less isolated as a result.”

The research highlighted the difficulties people can face on a day-to-day basis when trying to access suitable toilet facilities.

Some said that they had often been forced to return home or were prevented from leaving the house in the first instance by the lack of appropriate facilities.

The guide is aimed at local authorities, tourist attractions and local businesses as a best practice guide to the simple changes that can be made to improve toilet provision for disabled people, such as making sure facilities are clean, that there are clear signs showing the way into and out of the toilets and that outward opening doors are replaced with sliding doors.

The Nowhere to go guide is available to download from https://research.ncl.ac.uk/nowheretogo