Getting to the toilet
Public toilets are an important feature of any destination. It is a particular issue for certain groups, particularly the elderly or the incontinent. It can be a cause for concern which may deter people from visiting a town, if there are no facilities.
Larger towns and villages will provide public toilet facilities. A list of council run public conveniences in Stafford Borough can be found here. However, the quality and cleanliness will vary widely and public toilets are being closed due to council cut-backs.
All restaurants and bars and many shops will have toilets on site but these are normally reserved for customers and staff, although some will allow people in need to use them.
It is not always obvious where the toilets are and may be necessary to ask advice from staff.
Some premises lock toilets to stop unauthorised use, so a key must be requested, where necessary. Some toilets can be accessed using a “radar” key, which can be purchased from specific suppliers or the Civic Offices at Riverside.
Outsourced venues such as the Gatehouse Theatre and health facilities normally have accessible provision. However it is always wise to check if you have particular needs. If you need a bowl of water for washing you should always carry a universal plug.
Toilets may have separate male and female rooms but this is not always the case. Disabled people will often have special needs, particularly wheelchair users and there are standards to which accessible toilets should be built (see details). Accessible toilets may be available within public facilities depending on the instance. Some larger shops may have left and right-hand accessible toilets for either sex and for able bodied use.
Some individuals may have special requirements such as a change facility to replace soiled clothing. Very young children are an obvious example but some adults may suffer from incontinence and require a special facility (and carer) to change in.
Where baby changing facilities exist they are normally in accessible toilets.
The entry to accessible toilets is important. Steps must be avoided and a ramp provided where necessary. Also, narrow passageways and entries and difficult turns should be avoided. You may need to check whether ramps, steps and narrow access will be a problem.
It is also important that safety standards are maintained. Emergency cords should be easily reachable from the seats, should not be tied up or incomplete and waste bins should not block transfer areas. It is important to notify managers where this is the case.