Our campaigners have made it a real birthday to celebrate this month. Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas are some of the latest high-street restaurants to come on board - just in time to celebrate Not Every Disability is Visible 4th birthday.
In support of the campaign they’re changing their accessible toilet signs and training staff to understand Crohn’s and Colitis. And importantly to recognise that someone can look ‘well’ on the outside and still have a real and urgent need to use an accessible toilet.
The new announcements top off an amazing four years since Not Every Disability is Visible launched. The campaign was originally inspired by now fifteen-year-old Grace Warnock from Scotland. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and designed her own accessible toilet signs to help raise awareness of people living with invisible disabilities.
In 2016, with the help of our amazing campaigners, we asked all the major supermarkets to install signage. Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s all agreed on the importance of this issue, putting up our accessible toilet signs in around 2,500 stores across the UK.
The second phase of the campaign targeted major travel hubs with great success securing airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham, plus train providers Thameslink Railway, Network Rail and roadside service providers, Moto Hospitality. Many more travel hubs have installed signage making a real difference to the lives of people living with Crohn’s and Colitis. Over 83% of people surveyed by Crohn’s & Colitis UK in November 2019 now feel more comfortable visiting somewhere the signage is installed. This means our campaign work is really making a difference to people’s everyday lives.
When I first saw the Not Every Disability is Visible campaign, it spoke to me on a level that nothing else had before. It made me realise that just because others couldn’t see the horrible effects of what I’m going through, doesn’t mean I’m not going through them. I knew that just because others might not be able to see it, I had just as much right to use that toilet as a person in a wheelchair.”
Now, the third phase of the campaign is targeting high-street pubs and restaurant chains. We’ve received huge support from JD Wetherspoons and Greene King pubs and restaurant including Nando’s, Wagamama and Zizzi.
We know that many of our customers have disabilities that aren’t always visible, and we want them to feel comfortable using the disabled toilets. We also hope that by working with Crohn’s & Colitis UK that these new signs will help voice awareness and stop the sigma and discrimination of people with hidden health conditions.
The campaign wouldn’t have been this successful without our fantastic supporters who together have sent over 53,000 emails to the CEO’s of pubs and restaurants to help get them on board. And in recognition of your support Not Every Disability is Visible has just been shortlisted for the PR Week Global Awards, recognising it as one of the world’s best healthcare projects of 2019.