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Published on 20 April 2011 04:00 PM

The next Welsh Assembly Government has to protect Wales’ network of public toilets.

Age Cymru is calling for the Cardiff Bay administration to impose a statutory duty on local authorities to provide clean, safe, secure and accessible toilets.

This is the fifth of six challenges that older people have told Age Cymru the next Assembly Government must tackle.

Victoria Lloyd, Age Cymru’s Director of Influencing and Programme Development, explains:

“Public toilets are lifeline for older people in communities right across Wales, giving them the freedom to go out and about with dignity and confidence.

"Poor public toilet provision has a significant impact upon people with continence issues, reducing their ability to remain active and restricting how often, and for how long, they are able to leave their homes.

“As part of our Community Calculator™ campaign Age Cymru asked older people to rate the facilities in their neighbourhoods, and over half told us that public toilets in their area were poor.”

Based on what older people have told it, Age Cymru is calling for:

• The Welsh Assembly Government to place a statutory duty on local authorities to make sure that public toilets are available in convenient locations, are open when people need them and are clean providing an essential community service;

• Local authorities to take positive steps to encourage more private businesses to sign up to the Welsh Assembly Government’s public facilities scheme, so that more companies are opening up their toilet facilities to the public.

Victoria Lloyd concludes:

“The link between activity and good health is well established: by investing in our communities and ensuring adequate public toilet provision, decision-makers can promote older people’s opportunity to remain active and independent for longer which could result in savings across health and social care budgets.

“Older voters are a major influence on the outcome of elections and this year, 75 per cent of constituencies in Wales can expect to see more than half of the vote cast by people aged 55 or over.

“Making sure that older people are treated with dignity and respect when they are receiving care must be a priority for the next Welsh Assembly Government.”

For more information: Call Age Cymru Advice: 08000 223 444