Although London-based, this report of the views of older people on public toilets has relevance throughout the UK.
From May to July 2022 almost 600 older Londoners told Age UK London what they thought about public toilet provision in the boroughs where they lived. This paper presents the findings of the survey and sets out our recommendations for London’s local authorities about how public toilet provision can be improved.
Good provision of public toilets is a hallmark of a civilised and welcoming place to be as well as an important part of public health provision. Public toilets also have a role to play in tackling social isolation.
Too many older Londoners avoid leaving their home as much as they would like because they are not confident they will be able to access a toilet if they need one. Londoners such as those with health conditions requiring more frequent visits to the toilet are among those most affected.
Age UK London’s London Loos campaigning is part of the Out and About campaign to tackle social isolation by improving community infrastructure including public toilet provision, so older Londoners feel able to get out, maintain friendships and other social connections and do the things they want to do.
Unfortunately the long-term decline in the number of public toilets has accelerated in recent years. At the latest count there were around 1,500 public toilets in London to meet the needs of more than eight million people – fewer than one per 5,000 Londoners.