Friday, May 24, 2024

Nelson says ‘use our loos’ in NZ-first

Nelson City Council is launching a new initiative to make more clean, safe and accessible toilets available to the public, and is inviting local businesses to join the programme.

Businesses around Nelson are being invited to display ‘Use Our Loos’ stickers in their windows, indicating people are welcome to use their toilets without making a purchase. 

“We know having access to toilets is a big issue, particularly for older people, and the fear of getting caught out can put them off leaving the house,” said Councillor Matt Lawrey, who chaired the City for All Ages Working Group. 

“In fact, a recent survey shows access to toilets is the third most common area for concern of older people living in Nelson.

“We’d love to get as many establishments as possible on board, and hopefully the places that offer this service see a little boost to their business. There’s an increasing number of people out there who want to support ethical businesses and Use Our Loos is going to give them a chance to do just that.”  

Participating businesses will display the new ‘Use Our Loos’ stickers, making it easier for people to find a loo when they need one.  

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Morrison Square shopping centre is among the first businesses to get involved. The centre manager for Morrison Square, Angela Leonard, says making their loos available for anyone was a “no-brainer”.  

“We want to make it easy and welcoming for customers of all ages and abilities to spend time in Nelson and in Morrison Square. It makes being downtown more accessible and a better experience for everyone.” 

The initiative is modelled on a successful campaign in London, which mobilised local businesses to make more toilets available to the community. It will be the first of its kind in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

The Manager of Age Concern Nelson Tasman, Caroline Budge says having easy access to toilets is a really important issue for many older adults.   

“Research shows that some people are afraid to leave their homes if they’re unsure of being able to find a toilet. It can be an invisible disability that causes social isolation – and that’s something at Age Concern we really don’t want to see,” she said.

“We’re delighted that Nelson City Council has launched Use Our Loos. It’s a great, low-cost initiative that can help anyone who gets ‘caught short’. Hopefully more and more Nelson businesses will jump on board with this new project that’s helping to make our city accessible.”  

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