Loo signs changed at Hatfield Galleria to raise awareness of invisible disabilities

PUBLISHED: 10:45 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:51 14 November 2018

Staff at Hatfield Galleria on Purple Tuesday with the new toilet sign. Picture: supplied by Crohn's & Colitis UK

Staff at Hatfield Galleria on Purple Tuesday with the new toilet sign. Picture: supplied by Crohn's & Colitis UK

supplied by Crohn's & Colitis UK

A Hatfield-based charity has campaigned to change the Galleria’s toilet signs as part of Purple Tuesday.

Crohn’s & Colitis UK, which is headquartered in Hatfield just opposite the Galleria, battles against Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

On Tuesday November 13, as part of the Galleria’s disability awareness-boosting effort, the charity changed the toilet signage to be more inclusive of invisible disabilities such as IBD.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which usually affects people in the form of Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, includes complications with the lower abdomen, and can lower energy levels, along with many other symptoms.

But the disability is not always obvious to onlookers.

The sign that the charity would like all public toilets to adopt. Picture: Crohn's & Colitis UKThe sign that the charity would like all public toilets to adopt. Picture: Crohn's & Colitis UK

A survey conducted by the charity found that 49 per cent of people with IBD had been challenged by strangers for using the disabled toilet.

“It can be a real problem for people,” said a charity spokesperson.

The new toilet signs show the usual symbol for a wheelchair user, as well as the male and female symbols seen on toilet signs for abled-bodied users.

They are accompanied by the message “not every disability is visible”.

Crohn's & Colitis UK charity staff with the new sign at Hatfield Galleria. Pictuer: supplied by Crohn's & Colitis UKCrohn's & Colitis UK charity staff with the new sign at Hatfield Galleria. Pictuer: supplied by Crohn's & Colitis UK

The spokesperson said the charity hopes more public toilets will take this on board. “It’s a really small change to implement, but the impact is huge.”

The current signs are temporary, but the Galleria is getting permanent ones made at present, and also will encourage its restaurant brand partners to get on board.

Crohns & Colitis UK got involved after they saw an article about Purple Tuesday at the Galleria in the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

To learn more about their nationwide campaign, see: www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/get-involved/campaigning/accessible-toilet-signs

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