Law firm Slater and Gordon is partnering with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) in its campaign to improve access to public toilets for people with a disability, the elderly and parents with prams.
Senior Motor Vehicle Accident lawyer Genevieve Henderson said the NSW Accessible Public Toilets Project and the National Public Toilet Map (NPTM) were fantastic initiatives to reduce the stress people with a disability or other mobility issues face finding an accessible toilet.
“SCIA is leading the charge to improve access to public toilets for people with a disability and other mobility restrictions and Slater and Gordon is thrilled to be a partner in this project,” Ms Henderson said.
“The NPTM is a website and iPhone app that provides locations and information on more than 16,000 publicly available toilets across Australia. It’s a great initiative which enables people to get out and about in the community with confidence and enjoy life.
“The campaign is now focusing on updating the NPTM with accessible toilets across NSW.”
Ms Henderson said Slater and Gordon is supporting the campaign by getting their staff members across NSW involved as volunteers to help identify and assess toilets in their local area that will be suitable for people with a disability or other mobility issues.
The campaign was launched 12 March in Newcastle. It will run for seven weeks and involve 15 of the Slater and Gordon offices in metropolitan and rural NSW.
SCIA’s NPTM project head Kelly McCann, who as a quadriplegic knows first-hand the challenges disabled people face simply accessing public toilets, said those prepared to become Volunteer National Public Toilet Map Access Officers will be thanked with a $100 gift voucher.
“This is a crucial project and we appreciate the work of volunteers to seek this vital information to update the NPTM,” Ms McCann said.
“We need Access Officers to identify and assess toilets that are missing from the map and re-assess toilets already on the map.
“People who maintain or own publicly available toilets in places such as cafes, service stations, shopping malls, railway stations, sporting venues and parks also sometimes need reminding about the function of a toilet. Some use their accessible toilets as storage space, making access difficult or even impossible.
In some cases people with disabilities will not venture out of their own home in case they are faced with an embarrassing situation when an accessible toilet is not actually accessible. Putting toilets on the map enables people with disabilities to go out and be independent without worrying if and when they can go to the toilet or not.
“Using the feedback from our volunteers enables me to talk to the owners about the assessment of their facilities and provide guidelines on what makes a good accessible toilet.
“Ensuring your business and its facilities are accessible to all potential customers is a great way for your business to grow.”
Ms McCann said an accessible toilet should have a large floor space of approximately 2300mm x 1900mm, a pan seat of approximately 460mm-480mm, a shelf and grab rails. Big enough to fit a wheelchair in and turn around, and the grab rails for someone to hold to when they move from their wheelchair and back again