Manchester College becomes UK’s first Toilet Twinned College

Manchester students’ big push to flush away poverty has earned them a top toilet accolade – as they become the first Toilet Twinned College in the UK.

Loreto Sixth Form College in Hulme will be presented with the Toilet Twinning award today, in recognition of their tireless efforts to fund latrines in poor countries.

Over the course of three fundraising drives since 2011, Loreto staff and students have raised more than £9,000 in total – enough to provide toilets for more than 150 families. Toilet Twinning raises funds to provide safe latrines, clean water and hygiene education in some of the poorest nations, by inviting people to twin their own loo with a latrine abroad.

Loreto College six-formers have been on a roll for years

Loreto College six-formers have been on a roll for years

Head of Hall Helen Gettings, who has led Loreto’s fundraising, says: ‘Some of our students come from poor backgrounds themselves and the families of many come from countries all over the world, including some where we’re funding toilets, so they’ve been very keen to get involved – and very generous.’

In their latest push, which began last October, they raised more than £3,200 – enough to fund seven school toilet blocks in Haiti and 25 household latrines – through everything from male leg-waxing and sponsored silences to henna hand-painting, bake sales, portrait-drawing and hair-dyeing.

Most toilets around Loreto College now boast certificates showing their ‘toilet twins’ in Burundi, DR Congo, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Chad – complete with colour photos and GPS coordinates.

Helen Gettings said Loreto has chosen to help fund toilet blocks in Haiti this year, among other places, because it had a ‘particular fondness’ for the country. The college raised more than £3,000 to support survivors of the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Loreto has funded several disabled-access school toilet blocks in Haiti

Loreto has funded several disabled-access school toilet blocks in Haiti

‘Sanitation is a basic human right and it impacts on every other aspect of your life, from health to women’s safety,’ says Helen. ‘And we’re particularly proud to fund school toilets as they are proven to reduce school drop-out rates, especially for girls.’

Toilet Twinning’s Tim Lovell, who will present Loreto’s award today, says: ‘Loreto College is an inspiring example of the impact young people can have when they are fired up by compassion and a sense of injustice. It’s very moving when UK students reach out to their peers abroad, recognising that things we take for granted like toilets are so often lacking elsewhere. Latrines are life-savers so Loreto students should feel very proud of the huge impact they’ve made in some very poor places.’