In recent months we’ve been working to raise awareness of the issues faced by people living with bladder and bowel conditions with businesses and venues through a new initiative – the Just Can’t Wait toilet Scheme. The scheme is designed to ensure businesses and staff recognise toilet cards when presented with them and to increasingly enable people to access a toilet in times of urgent need. The scheme has been running only a short time and support is growing.
Listening to our community is always a priority – and having recently launched the Just Can’t Wait Toilet Scheme, the participants in the scheme are no different.
We wanted to check in with participating businesses in the scheme – which includes hairdressers, local councils, shops, restaurants and community services – to find out how they are getting on.
A primary concern was to educate staff, to ensure that in participating shops and businesses the ‘gatekeeper’ staff are briefed on the Just Can’t Wait Card, who it is for, and know what they can do to support. As such, each participating business has received an informative pack with support material to help them understand the scheme, as well as a window sticker to indicate to customers that they can support with toilet access if required.
We’re extremely grateful to those businesses who have adopted the scheme early on, and thank them for their honest feedback in helping us improve the scheme further.
Surrey County Council have adopted the scheme at their offices in Woking – Jill Foster, Building Facilities Manager for Surrey Council is based in their offices in Quadrant Court and enquired about the scheme after a colleague suggested she look into it.
Jill explained what motivated them to get involved:
“As an organisation within the public sector, we are always supportive of our community; Quadrant Court is located close to Woking Town Centre and due to the nature of the services located at our offices can offer the use of a public toilet within our reception therefore making us an ideal advocate to offer our support”
Jill went on to explain that whilst it is early days in the scheme, they are hopeful that it will help them connect with employees and customers, and would recommend other businesses consider taking part.
Another participating venue in the scheme is Durham Music Shop.
Stephanie Yates is the Director of the business, and heard about the scheme after being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2021. She was having ‘toilet issues’ when her Stoma nurse told her about Bladder & Bowel Community and the Just Can’t Wait Toilet Card.
As a person with bowel issues I welcome the scheme greatly.
Stephanie explains her motivations to support the scheme:
“As more and more High Streets lose their small shops it is becoming harder to find clean accessible toilets quickly. As a stoma user I found public toilets very inconvenient as the hand basins are usually in a public area and not in a cubicle so cleaning or changing an ileostomy bag was very embarrassing. If you can use a small independent shop the toilet and sink are usually in the same area and very private.”
Stephanie went on to explain that since joining the scheme, they have found more customers asking if they can use our toilet facilities, even if they do not have bowel or bladder issues – “I believe this helps to make them feel that we care more and are willing to go the extra mile for our customers’ comfort.” She added, “As a person with bowel issues I welcome the scheme greatly.”
As a business owner Stephanie explained that she believes it is important to show they care about their customers. They’ve even had sales as a result of people discovering their products after using their toilets, which goes to show the importance of our high streets and the communities within them.
“It costs us nothing, but can make a huge difference to someone. Our facilities are easily accessible from the shop floor so we do not have to take them through a store room or anything, and we keep them presentable anyway for our own benefit.
We are a very specialised business, but even we have had people buy on spec after coming in to use our facilities, and they have commented that they would not normally have come into our shop, as they are not musicians, but have found something suitable for a friend.”
At this stage we are aiming to recruit the support of businesses who are willing to display the roundel stickers in their window. This would show individuals that our Just Can’t Wait cards are accepted at this location, providing reassurance and peace of mind to people living with bladder and bowel conditions.
The scheme has only been running for a short while, and we thank all businesses and venues who have enlisted their support so far. It’s important for any business to ensure they have taken the necessary steps to ensure that the scheme is suitable for them.
In the interest of safeguarding, we are not asking individuals to display the stickers in their residential homes. However, if you are not part of a business or service, there are other ways in which you can help our scheme:
- Display the Digital Just Can’t Wait card poster to help raise awareness.
- Send us suggestions of where you would like to see our window stickers displayed, i.e. your favourite cafe or shop and we can contact them on your behalf.
- Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and like/comment/share our posts.
- Word of mouth – talking about our scheme with family, friends and colleagues. The more awareness and support we have, the more people we can help!
Your support – no matter how much or little – is much appreciated. Together, we can help reduce the stigma attached to bladder and bowel issues and give people the confidence to leave their home without the fear of where they can use a toilet in an urgent situation.
If you’d like to know more about the scheme, please contact us.