Disability campaigner wins a major victory over Tesco’s toilet facilities

Disability campaigner wins a major victory over Tesco's toilet facilities
NOT SECURE: Disabled toilet faciltities in many supermarkets

Chris Jeffery, who was Trustee for Shopmobility in Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells before the charity was forced to close due to lack of funds, says he campaigned against Tesco following an incident at the Riverhead store in Sevenoaks.

He told the Times: “Around 18 months ago I was using the disabled toilet undertaking a medical procedure that I have to do, when somebody used a coin to unlock the door and burst in.

“I was angry to say the least. It was a complete invasion of my privacy and dignity.”

He added that disabled toilets in supermarkets were often in a poor condition, vandalised, or are used by people that are not disabled.

“People need to understand, disabled toilets are not the easy option when other toilets are in use. We rely on these facilities. The medical procedure I have to do keeps me alive.”

He continued: “I’ve been into a disabled toilet and found an entire family in there cleaning their cycle helmets.”

He said the store manager at Tesco in Riverhead was ‘brilliant’ following the incident, but it took 18 months to convince their head office to install a secure radar lock – which entitles disabled people to carry a ‘radar key’ to access more than 10,000 disabled facilities across the UK.

“Just over a week ago I received a phone call from a lady at Tesco Head Office and they have finally agreed to this happening. 

“She herself uses a disabled toilet and was fully appreciative of what we were asking for,” continued Mr Jeffery.

A spokesman for Tesco confirmed that they have now fitted the lock at the Riverhead store. 

He said: “We were sorry to hear about this incident, and after listening to customers we’re pleased to confirm that a radar lock has now been installed on our disabled toilet.”

Now Mr Jeffery wants all supermarket chains to follow suit in all their branches.

He said: “We disabled people live with our conditions, so why can’t other supermarkets understand this?

“Disabled people like myself deserve dignity, respect and privacy when having to use such facilities.”

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