Backlash over disabled toilets after John Lewis Christmas TV hype

National department store John Lewis says it is looking at the feasibility of putting hoists and changing benches into its new department stores after it was criticised by parents of disabled children for its lack of appropriate disabled toilets.

People took to social media to vent their frustration with the retailer for failing to invest in Changing Places facilities after it recently unveiled its £7m Christmas television advert featuring its character ‘Moz the monster’.

One Twitter user shared an image of a young girl on the floor of a toilet cubicle in John Lewis showing the conditions families and carers are having to work in.

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A spokesperson for John Lewis followed up by saying the retailer has disabled customer toilets and parent and child facilities in its shops. They told the Manchester Evening News: “Unfortunately due to the limited space we are unable to make the changes that Changing Places desire at this point in time in existing shops.”

The Twitter user, Laura Moore, who was given permission by the pictured girl’s parents to share the image, wrote:  “While everyone is swooning over how wonderful the new @johnlewisretail advert is… just take a moment to look at this photo which was taken in one of their stores because they don’t provide #changingplaces for severely disabled people and refuse to do so. Priorities.” The post was retweeted nearly 1,500 times and has caught the attention of news outlets.

Ms Moore is a strong voice in the Changing Places campaign which fights for businesses and high street retailers to provide facilities in addition to disabled toilets which feature hoists, adjustable changing benches and ample room for multiple carers.

She said: “I watched the advert and thought it’s convenient that they can scrape £7m together for their Christmas advert but don’t want to spend any money to put Changing Places​ toilets in their stores.”

Earlier this year, a government advisory body urged ministers to make it a requirement that all large builds open to the public include Changing Places toilets.

Recommendations from The Commons Women and Equalities Committeewhich was appointed to examine the government’s performance on equalities issues, stated that the accessible toilets should be a minimum requirement for large developments like large shopping centres.

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