‘A Place to Pee’ – Improving Public Toilet Provision in Pontypridd
Rev Peter Lewis, Pontypridd Area Deanery
This campaign came from my experience as a street pastor in Pontypridd town centre and seeing the problems caused during the night times at weekends when people have nowhere to go when they need to go! There are problems in terms of the welfare and security of people, and particularly for women. There is pollution and degradation of the environment, and there is pain and frustration for people in not being able to find anywhere to go.
We discussed this as street pastors and as a deanery and recognised that other community groups in Pontypridd were also concerned about this and looking at how to improve the situation but from different perspectives. Notably, the 50 plus forum had been looking at the provision of disabled access toilets and access to toilets during the day time in Pontypridd town centre. We saw that this was an issue that many different community groups were keen to bring about change on.
We organised a community meeting in March to share experiences. On the same day we did a research action in the town centre; a walk around the town centre and talking to staff in cafes, pubs, restaurants and other local businesses. We were also joined by a group of students from St David’s Sixth Form College in Cardiff, another Citizens member organisation. Most of these students did not know Pontypridd well and so as newcomers researched the location, opening hours and state of the current public toilets as well as also interviewing staff in local businesses to find out their perspectives.
We then came back together in April to consider the results of action research and planned our next steps and moving to action. There are things we can do as local organisations at low cost to improve the situation such as developing a ‘Toilet Available’ scheme for organisations which we can implement and encourage other churches and town centre organisations and businesses to sign up to. There are also three areas where we will ask others to help make change on:
- Re-establish the night-time temporary public toilets for men and women
- Better signage to the existing public toilets
- Improved toilet provision, including for disabled people, in the town centre
In quite a short time we have been able to recognise the need, organise together around this issue, listen to and involve organisations and businesses across Pontypridd, and plan together how the situation can be improved.
The Pontypridd Area Deanery (Church in Wales) is a member organisation of Citizens Cymru Wales. Rev Peter Lewis attended the Citizens UK National Community Leadership Training in Leicester in March 2017, which is helping to inform this campaign. For more information about the 'Place to Pee' campaign, or for more information about Citizens in Rhondda Cynon Taff, please contact email@example.com.