Tesco’s ‘Trialling’ Changing Places Toilets

Tesco’s ‘Trialling’ Changing Places Toilets
Yes you read that right.. Tesco have started to ‘trial’ Changing Places toilets in their stores.  This sounds like amazing news doesn’t it?  And yes in some ways it really is.  But I have my concerns and here’s why.

I work alongside a number of other ‘campaigners’ who have questioned the validity of this trial. We have asked Tesco’s how long the trial will last, what they are trialing and what they expect the results to be.  But Tesco have so far failed to respond to these questions.

Tesco themselves stated (in a letter to me) that a Changing Places toilet requires a minimum of 7m2 – space that they cannot provide in my local store.  However the minimum standards for a Changing Place toilet is actually 12m2 so it leads us to question if they are getting proper advice and if they are actually trialing something completely different.  Which is fine, we just want to know what facilities we can expect in these trial stores.

I have seen no press about the stores with the trial facilities in, which leads me to worry that no one else has either.  And if people don’t know they exist, they will not visit and therefore will not use the facility.  Which will allow Tesco to say that the trial proved they were not required/used.

Tesco have had a Changing Places toilet in their Stourbridge store for over 2 years!  This one wasn’t installed as part of a trial though as far as I can tell so why was this one agreed without a trial and surely after 2 years of service this is enough to prove the need?

Why is a trial needed at all?  When there are comments on their social media pages week after week about the need for them (including the post below which has been gaining momentum over the last few days – click below to read the comments and leave one if you wish)

Did Tesco feel the need to trial other toilets which they provide?  Do they carry out trials for baby changing facilities for example?  If not, you can see why a trial would be rather insulting for the disabled people that need these facilities.

In a letter from Tesco’s I was told that as my store has 2 Changing Places toilets within 10km it’s unlikely that it would get a Changing Places facility as they’d want to provide them in communities which don’t have them. That’s fair enough in theory but it still means that Tesco’s think it is acceptable for us to leave their store if my son needs the toilet. I’d class this as discrimination when they do everything they can to ensure that other customers spend as much time in their stores as possible so that they spend their money – if they felt it was appropriate for people to leave to use a toilet, why are they providing facilities for able bodied customers, those who can use a standard disabled toilet and babies?

A trial of something which prevents children from having to lay on a toilet floor, ensures disabled people are offered the same dignified access to a toilet as able bodied people and allows customers to come into their store, spend their money and maybe stay longer than they would otherwise have stayed (without having to dump their trolley half way round because they need a pee) is surely not necessary is it?  This isn’t rocket science folks!

We are about to enter 2017, lets hope that Tesco )and all the other big bucks companies) finally see that providing usable toilet facilities for everyone is not only the right thing to do but it also makes good business sense.
I’m convinced that whichever store commits to being the first in the UK to do this will be the winners as far as good PR, customer loyalty and increase in profits – they’ll have my repeat custom for a start!
As always, leave me a comment below. I love hearing your thoughts!
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