A campaign to help men suffering incontinence by installing sanitary bins in public locations is being backed by Transport for Wales.
The “Boys need Bins” campaign by Prostate Cancer UK highlights just what a barrier incontinence can be.
According to their research, a survey of men living with incontinence reveals that 95% feel anxiety due to a lack of sanitary bins in men’s toilets for disposing of pads hygienically. Other key stats include:
Nearly one third of men surveyed have been forced to carry their own waste in a bag.
1 in 3 men over 65 in the UK experience urinary incontinence, and 1 in 20 men aged 60 and over live with bowel incontinence.
The ‘Boys need Bins’ campaign, led by Prostate Cancer UK, is calling on the government to change existing legislation so that sanitary bins are provided in all men's toilets.
And on the railway that anxiety is no exception. Independent customer group Transport Focus is working closely with TfW to help bring the campaign to the Wales and Borders network.
From the end of September the Prostate Cancer memorial on display in Cardiff Central station a remembrance sculpture dedicated to the husbands, dads, uncles and grandads who’ve been lost to prostate cancer. It’s a celebration of so many unique and remarkable lives.
TfW’s Customer Operations Director Lisa Cleminson said: “We know that using public transport is a great way to be more sustainable, but it comes with its anxieties too. Which platform do I need? Will my train be on time?
“Where do I have to change trains? So the last thing we want to do is add to that anxiety for men who need to dispose of their incontinence pads. It can impact mental health and put people off traveling altogether.
“We as a rail industry have to take the lead in breaking down those barriers.”
“So I’m very proud to say that we are working with Transport Focus on a trial of sanitary bins in the men’s toilets at two of our busiest stations Cardiff Central and Chester. We then expect that to be rolled out at our key hub stations Shrewsbury, Newport and Swansea before expanding further.”
All of TfW’s accessible toilets have sanitary bins in and these can be accessed via the RADAR key scheme even at times where a station may be unstaffed and the main toilets locked.
A changing place toilet scheme is also being developed in partnership with Network Rail which meet a lot of accessibility needs and requirements of people traveling, including sanitary bins.
Some of these toilets have already been installed at Bridgend, Swansea and Port Talbot and the feedback from customers is extremely positive.
An emblem will be displayed on the doors of those toilets with sanitary bins so they are easy to identify and show TfW are working with Prostate Cancer UK.
As part of the South Wales Metro project, new universal toilets are being built at key stations within the Valleys network to ensure customers are always within 15 minutes of a station toilet whilst traveling.
Nick Ridgman, Head of Health Information & Clinical Support at Prostate Cancer UK, said:“A man living with incontinence shouldn’t have to worry that he might have to carry around his own used pads when he’s out of the house, just because he can’t access a sanitary bin to dispose of it hygienically.
“For the hundreds of thousands of men in the UK living with incontinence, this is their reality. Their lives are being limited by the taboo that surrounds male incontinence, and the anxiety caused by a lack of basic facilities in men’s toilets.
"We're delighted that Transport for Wales is backing our Boys Need Bins campaign, and introducing sanitary bins in men's loos across its busiest railway stations.
“While we eventually want laws to change so that every man has access to a bin, in the meantime it's exciting that real change is happening across Wales and the rest of the UK, as the campaign builds momentum."
Michelle Roles, stakeholder manager for Wales at Transport Focus, said:“The ‘boys need bins’ issue was first raised with us by Senedd Member Carolyn Thomas at our public Board meeting on behalf of a passenger using the Transport for Wales network. We raised the issue with Transport for Wales and asked for their help.
“We are delighted that this is being piloted by Transport for Wales to address a barrier to travel, with the support of Prostate Cancer UK. We look forward to seeing how the initiative progresses and will be encouraging other transport operators follow suit – small changes can make a world of difference to passengers.”