We’re working with Prostate Cancer UK and Bladder Health UK to support the Boys Need Bins initiative. As part of this, we’re campaigning for legislation for male hygiene bins to be provided in male toilets. This’ll address the needs of men who are incontinent and men who wear stomas.
Our National Support and Development Manager, Sarah Gray, has heard many stories of men talking about their difficulties when looking to dispose their incontinence pads when they’re out in public. We hear from her perspective why our Boys NEED Bins campaign is so important and how you can get involved.
Over the past few years, I have listened to many men tell me stories of difficulties in disposing of their incontinence pads when they are out and about. As a woman who takes it for granted that there will always be a bin in any public toilet cubicle for me to dispose of my sanitary pads this was something that I am not ashamed to admit I hadn’t thought of before.
I have heard of men stuffing their soiled incontinence pads in their bags and carrying them home, I have heard stories of men hiding the pads behind pipes in toilet cubicles, and I have listened whilst men have told me harrowing stories of sodden pads leaking over their trousers, because they haven’t been able to change their pad.
We started to investigate why there aren’t bins in men’s cubicles, and discovered that whilst there is a statutory provision in law for bins in women’s toilet cubicles, there is currently no such provision for bins in men’s cubicles. This is clearly an equality issue that needs to be addressed for both men, trans men and trans women.
Roll forward to this summer the issue was picked up by the BBC and subsequently other media outlets, following an interview to Evan Davis had with Prostate Cancer patient, Jonathan Hall. Jonathan from Hampshire has suffered with urinary incontinence since his prostate cancer treatment, said: “There’s a time when you suddenly realise, perhaps because you’ve been laughing too heavily with somebody, you feel [the pad is] full and you’ve got to change it. When I was first confronted by this, I was walking in a car park. And you go to the loo and you realise there’s nowhere to put this thing. You have to plan your day in a different way.”
Tackle Prostate Cancer are now campaigning alongside other charities including Prostate Cancer UK, and Bladder and Bowel UK, under the campaign name Boys NEED Bins. We are very much in the early stages of developing our campaigning messaging and campaign asks.
Steve Allen, Sarah Gray and Ken Mastris recently attended the APPG on Bladder and Bowel Care at the House of Commons. This All-Party Parliamentary Group is championing the Boys NEED Bins campaign, and we are looking at the Levelling Up Bill which is currently going through parliament to does offer some opportunities and our involvement the APPG on Bladder and Bowel Care may mean we will be able to ask to table some amendments to make the ask more robust in terms of bin provision in men’s cubicles.
Boys NEED Bins Survey
Want to help shape our Boys NEED Bins initiative? If you’ve personally experienced bladder or bowel leakage or incontinence after prostate cancer treatment then we want to hear from you. We need people who have had real life experiences of incontinence from prostate cancer treatment to develop an initiative that helps people on a daily basis. Along with other charities, we want to change the law to make sure every public toilet across the UK is fit for men’s needs.
Survey link here.