This article originally appeared in the October/November issue of PosAbility Magazine. To read more articles like this one, subscribe here!
The latest instalment from disabled access review site Euan’s Guide highlights the importance of Red Cord Cards and Changing Places facilities
At Euan’s Guide, we talk about toilets quite regularly. Firstly, whether or not somewhere had an accessible or Changing Places toilet. Then, if it did have one, what it was like and what we would change about it.
Toilets are an important part of the disabled access reviews left on EuansGuide.com, and we always love it when reviewers or venues share photos of the loos with us. That’s because everyone’s access requirements are different, so while you might be looking for right-hand transfer, someone else might be looking for a shelf, turning space or high contrast to help identify the fittings. It is true what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a picture of an accessible loo can quickly give people the information they need to be able to decide whether or not they’d be able to use the toilet.
So often venues are let down by their accessible toilet (or a lack of one). Have you ever come across an accessible toilet with a broken grab rail or toilet seat? How about one that doesn’t look like it has been cleaned lately? Gross! Or what about one that is also being used as a storage cupboard? Sigh.
How handy would it be to know about these issues before you visited and how easy would it be for venues to fix these problems?
One common problem we kept hearing about in people’s reviews was red emergency cords that wouldn’t be of any use in an emergency because they were cut too short or tied up out of reach. These emergency cords are designed so that they could be used by someone sitting on the toilet or lying on the floor who needs to raise the alarm to call for assistance. The problem is that far too many people don’t know what the cord is there for, which is why we designed Red Cord Cards. Our Red Cord Cards are splash-proof cards designed to be attached to all red emergency cords to remind everyone that the cord should be left hanging freely so that it could be used in an emergency. The sign is an important tool to alert all toilet users, cleaners and staff to leave correctly positioned cords as they are and can help signal to venues when the cord needs to be fixed.
Individuals can request free Red Cord Cards from us by visiting EuansGuide.com/redcord. Their size makes them easy to carry around so that they can be added to every red emergency cord that you see. Thanks to the help of thousands of people across the UK we’ve already given out over 60,000 Red Cord Cards to help make so many accessible toilets safer. We don’t want to stop there either, we’d love to see Red Cord Cards in every accessible toilet. Visit our website if you’d like to support us and help make this dream a reality.
Something else that’s a big toilet let down is the lack of Changing Places toilets. We’re a big fan of Changing Places here at Euan’s Guide. A Changing Places toilet includes a height-adjustable changing bench, a ceiling hoist; a peninsular toilet and a privacy screen. There also needs to be space for the toilet user and up to two carers. These toilets do not replace accessible toilets but should be provided in addition to accessible toilets. For years the Changing Places Consortium has campaigned for more Changing Places toilets to be provided in all public places, including city centres, shopping centres, railway stations, airports and leisure complexes. There are now just over 1,500 Changing Places registered, yet 250 thousand people in the UK require access to the facilities found within a Changing Places toilet to be able to go to the toilet safely when they are out and about. Clearly, there is still a need for more Changing Places. More Changing Places will mean that everyone will have more options for great places to visit. To find out how you can support the Changing Places campaign visit Changing-Places.org.
In the meantime, we’d love it if you could help us shout about the places you find accessible and where they have accessible or Changing Places toilets that you can use by reviewing them on Euan’s Guide. Reviews are a great way to share your experience and recommend those places that you enjoyed visiting. Knowing another disabled person enjoyed their visit is really helpful when planning a trip.
As well as being a place where you can share your recommendations with other disabled people, leaving reviews on Euan’s Guide can also be a powerful tool for change. Did a bad accessible loo or lack of Changing Places let the experience down? Mention it in your review! We’re proud to say that we share new reviews with venues, and we know that the feedback people leave on Euan’s Guide can lead to venues taking action and make changes to improve their accessibility.
If like us, you don’t mind a bit of toilet talk you might want to join our Facebook group where we discuss toilets and share our Red Cord Card adventures. You can find the group by searching ‘Red Cord Cards by Euan’s Guide’ on Facebook. Or visit EuansGuide.com/toilets to find more ways to get involved.
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