Monday April 3rd 2017

We haven’t washed our hands of you say local businesses

Visitors to Sheffield needn’t worry about getting caught short thanks to a new scheme to improve access to toilets in the city centre.

LAVS – the lavatory and ablution venue scheme – is a community toilet scheme developed by Sheffield’s Business Improvement District (BID). LAVS permits anyone to use the toilets of participating premises whether they are a paying customer or not, providing access to clean, safe toilets in convenient locations.

The BID has worked in partnership with its Levy Payers to remedy an issue that faces many cities across the UK – the lack of public facilities. All the LAVS locations provide male and female toilets, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. One, at the Moor Market, also provides specially-equipped Changing Places toilets for people with more complex disabilities.

BID Manager Diane Jarvis said: “We understand that public toilet facilities are important to residents and visitors alike, and LAVS is a way in which we can make more facilities accessible to everyone.

“Whilst residents and those working in the city centre might pop into M&S or Debenhams anyway, we shouldn’t assume that all visitors will immediately know the location of these stores. And people certainly do feel self-conscious using a less-obvious facility if they’re not a paying customer.

“One of the BID’s key areas of work focuses on making the city centre easier to access. We are delighted that businesses were keen to support the initiative and prepared to open-up their customer-toilets for the public to use.”

Businesses who have signed up to LAVs will display window vinyls to show the scope of facilities available and wayfinding signs have been installed in the city centre.

A handy pocket map has been printed with the location of all the new toilets and will be available from the City Hall Box Office, Arundel Gate main interchange, Millennium Galleries, Ponds Forge and the Tourist Information Centre.

Partners who have opened-up their facilities to non-paying customers are:

• The Bankers Draft, 1-3 Market Place
• Marks and Spencer, 19 Fargate
• The Graduate, Surrey Street
• John Lewis, Barker’s Pool
• Debenhams, The Moor
• Subway, 96 The Moor
• The Moor Markets

Chris Taylor, area manager for the Subway store at the Moor said: “We are delighted to support LAVS and to work in partnership with Sheffield BID to provide access to clean, safe toilets in the city centre. It’s a win-win really because it’s good for the community and it’s good for us as a business.”

By working with local businesses LAVS offers a much better standard of facilities than in traditional public toilets. The scheme is open all year round to other businesses to get involved and those interested in joining LAVS should contact Sheffield BID.

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