Chester crowned world’s first Toilet Twinned City

Chester has been crowned the first Toilet Twinned City in the world today after local people kicked up a stink about poor sanitation.

Members of the Chester branch of Soroptimist International have been on a roll with their project to support a quirky campaign called Toilet Twinning which raises funds for toilets in poor nations. The initiative provides clean water, basic latrines and hygiene education in some of the poorest communities in the world – by inviting people in the UK to twin their loo with one in a developing nation.

The efforts of the Soroptimists and other local groups have earned Chester the prestigious Toilet Twinned City award which was presented at the Town Hall today [SEPT 18].

The efforts of the Soroptimists and other local groups have earned Chester the prestigious Toilet Twinned City award which was presented at the Town Hall today [SEPT 18].

Some local schools and businesses had already twinned their toilets before Soroptimists got involved in May with the big push to twin as many toilets as possible. President of the Chester Club Victoria Pritchard says: “We took up the baton that several people in the city had already started running with and this was very much a whole community event.”

The Chester Club launched a social media campaign to promote the cause by photographing a ‘Lonely Loo’ in various locations around the city; they engaged the Sheriff of Chester and the local MP; they enlisted the support of local businesses and raised funds at their local fete.

Chester's Lonely Loo popped up at venues across the city

Chester’s Lonely Loo popped up at venues across the city

Victoria Pritchard says: “Toilet Twinning is a project that has captured people’s imagination. There’s a sense of fun but the serious message about the need to provide proper sanitation, clean water and health education to poor communities remains very clear. When you twin your toilet your donation goes towards building a sustainable latrine in a country of your choice. That’s a life-changing event for a family, community or school.”

The Sheriff of Chester Alex Black and former Mayor Jill Houlbrook, who attended today’s presentation, were among the first to have their toilets twinned, followed by several local businesses, cafes and restaurants. In total about 50 people have twinned their toilets in the city and more are expected to follow suit.

Lorraine Kingsley, CEO of Toilet Twinning, who presented the Toilet Twinned City award, says: “Chester is a great example of the amazing things that can happen when local people pull together to make a difference. Twinning 50 toilets is the equivalent of bringing clean water and sanitation to an entire village, something that can change the course of a community’s development for ever. Chester should be really proud of championing toilets in this way, because loos are literally life-savers. We are so grateful to the Soroptimists and the people of Chester for all their hard work and generosity.”

Soroptimist International is a leading global women’s voluntary organisation. It has close to 90,000 members in more than 3,000 clubs in over 100 countries around the world. Soroptimists focus on transforming the lives of women and girls, locally, nationally and globally, through education, empowerment and enabling initiatives.

For more information, contact Seren Boyd on seren.boyd@toilettwinning.org