The move follows consultation with charities, Crohn’s & Colitis UK and SeeAbility, with the aim to help educate and remind people that not every disability is visible.
While someone with Crohn’s or Colitis may appear to not have a disability on the surface, they may crucially need to use the accessible toilets, due to symptoms such as urgent and frequent diarrhoea.
Greene King chief executive Nick Mackenzie said: “We know that many of our customers have disabilities that aren’t always visible, and we want them to feel comfortable using the disabled toilets.
“We also hope that by working with Crohn’s & Colitis UK and SeeAbility that these new signs will help voice awareness and stop the stigma and discrimination of people with hidden health conditions.”
According to Crohn’s & Colitis UK, half of people with Crohn’s or Colitis have received negative comments for using accessible toilets and 29% have been refused entry to an accessible toilet because their disability isn’t visible.
Crohn’s & Colitis UK campaigns manager Sarah Hollobone said: “By putting new accessible toilet signs in their pubs Greene King is helping people with Crohn’s and Colitis, and other invisible conditions, feel more confident and comfortable when out. And importantly, they’re helping challenge the outdated perception that you have to look physically disabled on the outside to have a real and urgent need to use an accessible toilet.”
According to SeeAbility, more than 1m adults in the UK have learning disabilities, and one in 10 has a serious sight problem, so being able to identify and use the accessible toilets is incredibly important.
Spaces for everyone
SeeAbility CEO Lisa Hopkins said: “SeeAbility’s ambition is to make inclusion a reality for children and adults with learning disabilities and autism. This starts with ensuring our communities have welcoming spaces for everyone.
“We are delighted to have collaborated with some of the people SeeAbility supports, to feedback on designs for the new signage and welcome Greene King’s response in taking this important step forward.”
Greene King consulted with SeeAbiltiy and Crohn’s & Colitis UK to ensure that the new assessible toilet signs would help those living with invisible disabilities feel at ease using pub toilets. The new signs also include braille writing.