Families of young people with disabilities and additional needs have highlighted how a lack of suitable toilets is deterring them from visiting Peterborough city centre.
A survey carried out by Alpha Autism Care Ltd working with Family Voice Peterborough shows that nearly 95% of respondents avoid visiting the centre due to its lack of accessibility.
Thousands of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well other disabilities that severely limit mobility, cannot use standard disabled toilets as they do not provide changing benches or hoists, and most are too small to accommodate more than one person.
Instead, they require Changing Places toilets; without these, the person with disabilities is put at risk and families are forced to risk their own health and safety by changing their loved one on a toilet floor.
Among the comments received in the survey were multiple mentions of how people requiring Changing Places toilets had to try and use normal disabled toilets in M&S or McDonald’s which was deterring them from visiting the city centre.
The survey also revealed that 85% of the respondents stated that they are unaware of the location of the only Changing Places toilet in the city centre which is at the Car Haven Car Park behind the Town Hall, while nearly all of those who are aware of it are unhappy with where it is placed.
The respondents made clear that their preferred location for a Changing Places toilet is in Queensgate.
The results will give further momentum to the Peterborough Unlimited campaign which is fundraising for new Changing Places toilets in the city centre to make the area more accessible for people with disabilities.
More information on the campaign can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/PeterboroughUnlimited.
Donations towards the toilets can be made at: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=SJSDHPJU72CJ4.
Family Voice Peterborough Parent Carer Rep team: “It is now accepted and expected that everyone has a right to live in the
community, to move around within it and access all its facilities. Government policy promotes the idea of ‘community participation’ and ‘active citizenship,’ but for some people with disabilities the lack of a fully accessible toilet is denying them this right.
“Providing these toilets in public places would make a dramatic difference to the lives of thousands of people who desperately need these facilities.”
People taking part in the survey have disabilities – or children with disabilities – including: autism, learning disabilities, Down’s syndrome, vision impairment, global development delay and microduplication.