Major pub chain JD Wetherspoon has joined the “Not every Disability is Visible” campaign and will install new signage on all its accessible toilets to help stop stigma and discrimination towards people with ‘invisible illnesses’ such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
A major anxiety for people living with a lifelong health condition, like Crohn’s or Colitis, is being confronted about why they are using the accessible toilets they urgently need.
Half of people with Crohn’s or Colitis said they have felt prevented from going to restaurants (49%) and pubs (43%) because they fear discrimination. Whilst someone may look ‘okay’ on the outside, they may crucially need to use the accessible toilets, due to symptoms such as urgent and frequent diarrhoea.
JD Wetherspoon is the first pub chain to change their accessible toilet signage in response to tour Not Every Disability Is Visible campaign. Following an incident recently where a young woman, Amber Davies, was confronted by staff at a JD Wetherspoon pub for using the accessible toilets, the company is taking a positive step to end the stigma experienced by people living with invisible disabilities.
We want to make sure all of our customers feel comfortable when visiting any of our pubs. We’re delighted to install these new signs that help to both increase awareness that not all disabilities are visible, and to ensure that anyone who needs to, can feel confident using our accessible toilets.
Eddie Gershon, Wetherspoon spokesman said “Since the launch of the campaign at the beginning of April 2019, almost 50,000 emails have been sent to the 15 largest pub and restaurant chains across the country. The charity is now in discussions with 13 of these businesses about changing their signage, with JD Wetherspoon leading the way. As well as installing the new signage, they are raising much needed awareness of invisible conditions with staff. “
Sarah Sleet, CEO, Crohn’s & Colitis UK said “JD Wetherspoon has made a simple but significant change in minimising the impact Crohn’s and Colitis can have on people’s lives – we know that these signs make a real difference to people living with these devastating conditions. We are grateful to the company for joining our campaign and showing their commitment to tackling stigma and discrimination for all their customers.”