Belfast Telegraph

New scheme allows busy shoppers to 'wee for free'

By Jonathan Bell

A council is stepping in to stop shoppers having to shell out when they need to spend a penny.

Derry and Strabane District Council yesterday launched a new scheme aimed at drumming up more business for shops while at the same time helping people who get caught short.

The council's initiative will allow those in need to use the toilet facilities of shops without having to pay.

Under the Community Toilet Scheme people can enter any shop on the scheme - identified by a blue logo in the window - and use the facilities.

And they hope that will remove the need to make a small purchase or, worse, having to feign an interest in its wares before making a bee-line for the restrooms. Those businesses taking part are paid an annual fee from the council depending on the facilities they have.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Councillor Maoliosa McHugh said the scheme will allow the public access to more clean, safe and accessible toilets at no cost to them.

"It is an ideal way for local businesses to give something back to their community and is a welcome addition to the existing public conveniences in our council area, particularly for people with mobility issues," the Sinn Fein representative said.

"Participating businesses will not only benefit from free publicity and the annual fee for offering their facilities but it could bring greater footfall into their premises."

While participating businesses will make their toilet facilities available to members of the public, they retain the right to refuse entry to anyone.

Businesses in the Community Toilet Scheme are identifiable by a window sticker, provided by council, indicating that they are participating in the scheme and the level of facilities available. Interested businesses must also have public liability insurance.

For details, www.derrystrabane.com/communitytoilets

Belfast Telegraph

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