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Northern Ireland council's 'wee-for-free' scheme aims to flush out new business

By Jonathan Bell

Ever been so desperate to spend a penny but only had the option of dipping into your wallet to use the closest shop's facilities?

Fret no more as Derry and Strabane District Council is here to help those caught short.

It has launched a new scheme aimed at flushing out more business for shops while at the same time saving the public from spending a penny.

The council has launched a new initiative, the Community Toilet Scheme, which will allow people to use the toilet facilities of shops without having to pay.

People can enter any shop on the scheme - identified by a blue logo in the window - and use the facilities all without that burden of having to make a small purchase, or worse having to feign an interest in its wares before making a beeline for the bogs.

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.

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