Six out of 10 supermarket chains do not have a single Changing Places toilet, according to research by Muscular Dystrophy UK.
With Christmas approaching, we took a look at how many shops have one of these fully-accessible facilities.
Although some retailers like IKEA and Tesco have committed to installing Changing Places toilets, it’s disappointing to see that many other chains do not provide these facilities.
What does Muscular Dystrophy UK’s research show?
Our research shows that Waitrose, M&S, Aldi, Lidl, Iceland and Co-op do not have a single registered Changing Places toilet.
Tesco, which partnered with Muscular Dystrophy UK earlier this year to roll out facilities at stores where there is the greatest need, is leading the way with 48 registered facilities and more due to be installed later this year and in 2020. Asda has registered seven, Sainsbury’s three, and Morrisons one. See how these supermarkets rank in our supermarket league table.
We have also found that less than 0.1% of retailers have a Changing Places toilet. There are currently 80 registered Changing Places toilets in supermarkets and other shops across the UK.
What do we think about this?
Naturally, we’re disappointed by our findings. Disabled people are being excluded from basic everyday things like shopping because there aren’t enough Changing Places toilets.
Clare Lucas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:
Everyone should have the option of enjoying a bit of Christmas shopping or popping to their local supermarket to buy those festive essentials. But because there aren’t enough Changing Places, a quarter of a million people who need these toilets won’t be able to.
And what do Changing Places users say?
Kerry Thompson, from Milton Keynes, worked with Tesco on its project to install Changing Places toilets. She said:
I’ve been on days out where I’ve just had one or two sips of water all day because there haven’t been any Changing Places toilets. Standard accessible toilets just aren’t good enough. When you have a powerchair, or two carers with you, only a Changing Places will do.
Jo Elgarf’s five-year-old daughter Nora has a rare brain condition called polymicrogyria and needs Changing Places toilets. Jo, from Worcester Park, London, has two other children – Nora’s twin, Layla, and Youssef, seven – and said:
Changing Places toilets mean we can enjoy a day out as a family. If there are no Changing Places, it’s not just Nora who is affected – her brother and sister are, too.
Changing Places toilets in supermarkets and other large public venues should be the norm. They allow families to do things that other people may take for granted. For us, it means we’re able to make the 400-mile round trip to Cornwall to visit Nora’s grandmother, because there is now a Changing Places toilet in a Tesco store on the way.
Jo and Nora’s shared their story in a video by Tesco. You can watch this below.
What do we want to see happen?
We need retailers to commit to installing much-needed Changing Places to help tackle the exclusion disabled people face, not just at Christmas but all year round.
We are also reiterating our calls for changes to legislation to make Changing Places toilets mandatory in new, large public buildings. Read about the the government’s consultation on this earlier this year.
What can you do?
To find out more about the campaign for Changing Places toilets, email: firstname.lastname@example.org