Campaign launched calling for more publicly available toilets in Sheffield
A new campaign is calling for more places in Sheffield city centre to make their toilets available to the public – as just seven organisations have so far put their names to a scheme that should mean lavatories are easier to find.
Age UK Sheffield wants to see 100 locations such as pubs, businesses and visitor attractions make their toilet facilities freely available by Christmas.
They want to make life easier for people who may suffer a sudden onset of the call of nature such as elderly and disabled people, those with long-term health conditions and parents with toddlers.
It also comes after only seven city centre venues signed up so far to the Lavatory and Ablution Venue Scheme, something the Age UK charity described as ‘nowhere near good enough.’
Steve Chu, chief executive of Age UK Sheffield, said: “Sheffield is one of England’s largest cities, yet there are only seven city centre premises signed up to the LAVS scheme.
“It is not acceptable for a city that wants to be age friendly, and I am calling for change by the end of the year.
“People are more likely to get out and about, go shopping, and spend money in the local economy, if they know they won’t get caught short.”
He added: “This isn’t just an older people’s issue. Thousands of Sheffielders of all ages are living with long-term health conditions and this is also a vital issue for parents of babies and toddlers.
“I recognise this cannot be a free-for-all, and that businesses can’t open their doors to anyone who wants to come in.
“But where people are genuinely in need of somewhere to go, they should be welcomed.”
The charity is calling for pubs and restaurants to make their toilets free to use to people who desperately need it without having to pay for a drink or for food.
Likewise other businesses who do not have toilets normally open to the pubic are being urged to make their staff loos available.
Sue Smith, who runs Hackenthorpe Community Centre that hosts lunch clubs for elderly people, is fully behind the campaign.
The 65-year-old said: “It is easier when you are younger to forget about the issues that older people face. But running a lunch club we hear about these all the time.
“As you get older you can develop bladder problems and sometimes when you need to go, you need to go.
“We should be doing more to support our elderly generation and this campaign is a great way of doing that.”
The LAVS scheme was launched by Sheffield Business Improvement District – a group of firms that aim to improve the city centre – in June 2017.
But only seven venues have signed up to become part of it:- Marks and Spencer, The Graduate pub, Millenium Gallery, John Lewis, Subway, The Moor Markets and Debenhams.
The organisation has produced a map on their website so people can easily see where their nearest available lavatory is.
Debenhams is not on the map at the moment as some changes are currently being made to their in-store loos.
The campaign has been launched to coincide with National Older People’s Day on Tuesday, October 1.
For further details about how to sign up for the scheme visit www.ageuk.org.uk/sheffield or phone 0114 250 2850.