Supermarkets To Commit To Providing Changing Places Toilets In Stores Within 18 Months
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Between Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose there are over 2600 large supermarkets across the UK.
All of these supermarkets provide toilets for their customers. However, only 9 of those 2600+ stores currently offer changing places style toilets.
We want a commitment from all these retailers that they will roll out changing places toilets across their whole network of stores within the next 18 months.
People with profound disabilities cannot use a regular toilet or a so called 'accessible' toilet. When they need to use the toilet, or be changed, parents or carers need to hoist them on to a large changing bed.
A changing places facility needs to be large enough to allow for a wheelchair user and 2 carers, it should have a height adjustable bed and a hoist which can be used to lift the user out of their wheelchair.
There are many times when parents and carers have to resort to changing disabled children and young people on a cramped and often dirty toilet floor or in a baby changing room on a baby changing unit which is unsafe for their size and weight.
Adults with profound disabilities are resorting to wearing pads even if they are not incontinent and have to relieve themselves in their wheelchair. They have nowhere to be cleaned and changed until they can leave the store and return home and are left sitting in a soiled pad.
Many disabled adults are resorting to with-holding fluids or even having surgery to stop them from needing the toilet when out in their communities.
There are a quarter of a million disabled people across the country who need the facilities a changing places toilet offers.
How many stores provide changing places toilets in the UK?
Asda - 4 (1 opening 2018)
Tesco - 3
Sainsburys - 1
Morrisons - 1
Waitrose (& John Lewis) 0
M&S - 0
None of these chains have committed to providing these facilities in all their stores despite knowing the conditions faced by customers when they do not have them.
They all provide toilets for their other customers in their stores and many provide a variety of facilities including ladies toilets, gents toilets, disabled / accessible toilet, ambulant disabled toilets, baby changing rooms and even baby feeding rooms.
Things need to change urgently before a disabled person is injured in a supermarket toilet.
There are currently no specific building regulations which require a changing places toilet within these stores, although they are required if businesses wish to meet British Standards. However, these businesses are all bound by the Equality Act 2010 which requires reasonable adjustments for disabled people.
We would hope that seeing an image of a disabled child on a toilet floor would be enough to make them want to make a change within their stores on moral and ethical grounds.
We don't want to hear any more excuses of trials, lack of customer feedback or not enough space. The time has passed for vague promises that they might try to install one when they refurbish.
These facilities are essential to many people. They take up less space than one car parking place, there are many ways to integrate them into existing spaces or even in a prefab arrangement. These facilities are needed now, there is no need to wait for a reason to refurbish, this is a reason in itself.
We want a commitment from all these retailers that they will roll out changing places toilets across their whole network of stores over the next 18 months.
- Marks and Spencers
We want a commitment from your business that you will provide changing places style toilets in all your stores within 18 months.
You have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make adjustments to ensure disabled customers are not put at a substantial disadvantage as compared to non disabled customers.
However, we would hope you would want to make this commitment purely from a moral and ethical perspective.
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