At Manfred Sauer, we are pleased to offer a free RADAR key to all new clients as part of your welcome pack. You can’t miss it really. It’s large, conspicuous and means you will be able to open more than 9000 accessible toilets in the UK, or will you?
In recent years, several people have reported difficulties to us when it comes to unlocking disabled toilets in public areas. Sometimes this has been out of hours, but other times it has been during the normal working day. So why is this happening and what can be done to ensure that people who need to use a locked disabled loo can now “go” in peace, and quickly, without the indignity of asking someone if they can have a wee?
We decided to try to find out more. We contacted Tom at The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation, for his thoughts.
“There is no legal obligation to provide public toilets, accessible or otherwise in the UK. In recent years, 10% have shut, whilst many others have been severely affected by the pandemic. This has meant they are secured with a second mortice lock, preventing RADAR key holders from getting inside. Add to this a combination of appallingly bad signage, non-existent communications, different policies and procedures for out of hours provision by local authorities, and in some places – Cornwall, New Forest and Liverpool, far less choice to begin with and you can start to see the scale of the problem.”
Tom continued. “Currently there is no good, accurate and up to date guide that people can reply on when they are planning their journeys. However, at RADAR we are working hard to change this. We are currently in the middle of a huge project to collect data on disabled toilets, their locations and associated facilities. Once we have this we will then need to check with councils and local authorities and make any corrections before it launches. However, in the meantime, we have completed the Changing Places database https://www.changingplacesmap.org/, which may provide some much-needed interim help. However, we urge you to keep checking back on the progress of the National UK Toilet Guide, which we hope will detail over 15,000 toilets and be the most comprehensive directory of its type. For more information visit https://www.loo.org/.”