Age Cymru would like to see more take-up of a scheme that encourages private companies across Wales to open up their toilets to the public, as part of a Welsh Assembly Government initiative.
The Community Toilet Grant Scheme is a three-year programme – running since 2009, which sees participating local authorities receive £18,000 annually to repay businesses who allow public access to their toilets.
Age Cymru’s Director of Influencing and Programme Development, Victoria Lloyd says:
“According to the results of the Community Calculator™ carried out by Age Cymru late last year, 54 per cent of people in Wales said public toilets in their area were poor.
“Programmes such as the Welsh Assembly Government’s Community Toilet Grant Scheme - which encourages private companies to enable the public to use their toilet facilities - can be part of a sustainable solution to toilet provision. It also demonstrates that making sure toilets are available in our communities does not need to cost significant sums of money.
“We know that Gwynedd Council had to shut 12 of its council-owned public toilets, but this scheme has made it possible for the council to work with local private companies to open 35 public toilets hosted on the premises of businesses in the area.
“Cardiff Council has also renewed its drive to get more private companies to sign up for its own Community Toilet Scheme which is something we’re very glad to see happening."
Victoria Lloyd adds:
“In the current economic climate it is even more vital that community facilities which help people to remain active – such as toilets, are provided across Wales.
“A lack of toilets can compromise older people’s dignity, leading to them becoming isolated because they’re afraid to venture out.
“And this isn’t just an issue for older people - people with disabilities, pregnant women and parents with young children need access to clean and convenient public toilets."
Victoria Lloyd concludes:
“The Community Toilet Scheme is a great example of how joined-up thinking and collaborative working between local authorities and private businesses can benefit everyone in society.
“The network of public toilets in Wales must be protected – and in addition to the Community Toilet Grant Scheme, Age Cymru wants the law changed to place a statutory responsibility on local authorities to provide accessible public toilets in their areas.”