St Albans pub promises changes to disabled facilities after hearing about campaign
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, one of England’s oldest and St Albans’ most popular pubs, has promised to include new equipment for disabled people as part of a planned £1m refurbishment.
Landlord Christo Tofalli is changing his plans to refurbish the pub to include more equipment for disabled patrons.
He decided to make the adjustments after reading an article on the lack of such services in restaurants.
He said: “I was stunned by my ignorance, by not knowing a disabled loo does not have disabled services.
“We need a bench and a hoist, but there was not going to be a bench or a hoist. It was the furthest thing from my mind.
“It’s just horrible that people are struggling.”
Mother Sarah Brisdion made national news headlines after revealing how she had to lie her disabled seven-year-old on urine-soaked restaurant toilet floors to change him.
Ms Brisdion has been photographing herself on the floors of public toilets across the country to highlight the plight of people who need changing facilities.
Christo said: “We are bringing the pub into 2018. I think it’s important we are in a very lucky position with our historic significance to be able to make a go at things.
“Within the loo there was enough room to move a get a wheelchair out. But someone with cerebral palsy having to change on a toilet floor is unthinkable.
“We think we are doing the right thing by having a hoist which can lift someone off a floor to a changing bench.”
The changes to the original plans involve moving a wall back slightly to accommodate the extra space.
The architect for the build has already cleared the changes.
Christo added: “Today’s society is very sheltered, you go to an office then you go home, but when you are in a pub you see disabled people all day long. Some are obvious, and some are not.
“For those who are obvious, society should have catered for them years ago. Having an old building is no excuse.
“I want to make this place as good as possible. I want to make it accessible and make a difference.”
Sarah will visit the pub with other disabled representatives later this year, and the Fighting Cocks plans should be submitted to SADC soon.