Changing Places facility image

More than seven in 10 disabled tourists have had breaks to British tourist hotspots ruined by a lack of accessible toilets says a new study by Leonard Cheshire and online community Disability Horizons.

The organisations received 280 responses to a study assessing the availability of accessible toilets at UK attractions in 2019, with the results highlighting the extreme and unsanitary situations some disabled people as forced to endure.

One person, who wished to remain anonymous, commented that “using the toilet meant lying on a dirty floor” whilst others were forced to urinate in bottles by a lack of disability-friendly facilities, or even to forgo drinking water to avoid going to the loo.

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According to the research, 73 percent of respondents said that they had arrived at a tourist attraction in the UK only to be confronted by a complete lack of toilets that they could use.

Worryingly, of these, almost the same proportion again (71 percent) said they had been promised an accessible toilet before visiting.

Lynn Mooney, at Leonard Cheshire’s The Orchard service in Liverpool, said: “The people that built these places are irresponsible. They didn’t think of people in wheelchairs.”

Lynn Mooney, at Leonard Cheshire’s The Orchard service in Liverpool
Lynn Mooney, at Leonard Cheshire’s The Orchard service in Liverpool

According to the study, nearly seven in 10 (68%) disabled people reported that the lack of accessible toilets deterred them from visiting tourist destinations, with respondents noting that the lack of appropriate toileting facilities makes them feel unwanted.

One tourist said: “You feel out of sorts like a rug has been pulled out from under you. It also leaves you feeling like they don’t want me there, and it makes me feel very off and guarded for the rest of the day.”

Additionally, access to toilets designed for disabled people was raised as a key issue, with some stating that special “R.A.D.A.R” keys, for example, were open to exploitation, with people able to buy the keys on Amazon and eBay rather than being assessed for them.

Neil Heslop, Chief Executive at Leonard Cheshire, said: “We’ve seen a snapshot of the situation facing disabled travellers, and the picture is grim. Clearly, far too many people are facing unacceptable conditions at tourist attractions around the UK.

“Even aside from the impact this has on disabled people being able to live independent lives, there are major implications for the tourism industry, which could inadvertently be turning away huge numbers of potential customers.”

Recently, the Government has invested more funding into ensuring British destinations provide access to accessible toileting for disabled people, supporting the Changing Places initiative.

One respondent commented: “If there are no Changing Places toilets, I have to limit my fluid intake, which is really dangerous. My condition means I have to manage some of the worst symptoms by drinking over four litres a day.

“As such, when planning a day out I have to weigh up being well (by drinking enough fluids but then needing toilet facilities) with being able to enjoy experiences (by limiting fluids which can end up in me feeling unwell and risking passing out/infections) or simply just not going at all.”

In April 2019, the Department for Transport opened a £2million pot of funding available to motorway service stations to install Changing Places facilities, whilst in May 2019, the Minister of State for Care, announced up to £2million of capital funding for NHS Trusts to improve the provision of Changing Places in NHS Hospitals.

Potentially extending the initiative further, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has opened a consultation on whether Building Regulations should be updated to make Changing Places facilities mandatory in large, public buildings.

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https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/total-hygiene-changing-places.jpg?fit=1000%2C453&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/total-hygiene-changing-places.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Calvin BarnettCharities & OrganisationsNewsroomReports & Researchaccessible toilets,changing places,Department for Transport,Disability Horizons,Leonard Cheshire,Lynn Mooney,Minister of State for Care,Neil Heslop,NHS Hospitals,NHS Trusts,R.A.D.A.RMore than seven in 10 disabled tourists have had breaks to British tourist hotspots ruined by a lack of accessible toilets says a new study by Leonard Cheshire and online community Disability Horizons. The organisations received 280 responses to a study assessing the availability of accessible toilets at UK attractions...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals