FI Real Estate Management (FIREM) has installed stoma friendly toilets at two of its retail destinations, North Point Shopping Centre in Hull and The Brunel Shopping Centre in Swindon.
In line with guidelines by Colostomy UK, FIREM has upgraded its facilities to ensure accessible toilets at the shopping centres are equipped for those with colostomy bags. This includes providing hooks, shelf space, a mirror and a disposable bin in every accessible cubicle across the centres.
Visiting shopping centres can be a source of anxiety for those with a stoma as toilets may not be adequately designed for them to be able to safely change their colostomy bags. In some cases, people have had to change their colostomy bags on the floor of public toilets, highlighting the issues surrounding ill-equipped public facilities.
Lyn Morgan regularly visits North Point Shopping Centre and reached out to Centre Manager, Louise Smith, to explain the importance of providing stoma friendly facilities.
Lyn explains: “As someone with a stoma, I am so pleased that the toilets have been upgraded to make them stoma friendly, not only in the North Point Shopping Centre but in The Brunel in Swindon. This will be welcomed by people with stomas who can now change their stoma bag confidently and with ease. I hope more businesses will upgrade their toilets to be stoma friendly.”
Those with a stoma often face discrimination, being challenged or criticised for using accessible toilets. To combat this, FIREM has provided clear signage that accessible toilets are for those with a stoma to use, using ‘Not all disabilities are visible’ stickers as provided by Colostomy UK.
FIREM’s retail destinations represent an ambition to create vibrant, interactive spaces that drive footfall and attract a wide range of consumers.
Chris James, Head of FIFM, commented: “This small change will make a significant difference to our customers like Lyn who live with a stoma, and I hope that this will increase their confidence to visit our centres. We want to provide the best possible customer experience across our retail destinations and this is one of the many upgrades we are making across the estate to ensure all customers feel welcomed.”
Tim Knowles, Managing Director and founder of FI Real Estate Management, added: “It’s important for us to support our customers with high-quality facilities across the FIREM estate. I’m positive that this will make a real difference to customers who are living with a stoma, giving them the confidence to visit our centres and I look forward to welcoming them.”
Giovanni Cinque, Marketing & Campaigns Manager at Colostomy UK, commented: “Lack of suitable toilet facilities is a form of social exclusion for many people living with a stoma. It stops them doing many of the things that most of us take for granted, like visiting a shopping centre. We’re delighted that FIREM have joined our Stoma Friendly campaign and encourage other organisations to do the same to support the 200,000 plus people in the UK for whom this is such an important change.”