THEY are proud in Skelmersdale, in Liverpool
diocese, of being the first Toilet Twinned Town. They have been
given the award by Lorraine Kingsley, the CEO of the charity Toilet
Twinning, in recognition of the town's fund-raising efforts to twin
local lavatories with latrines in poor countries.
Skelmersdale - or Skem, as it is known locally - has long been
on a roll, Serena Boyd writes. "For several years now, many local
churches, schools, companies, and community groups have been
twinning not only their own toilets, but also other people's
through what they call 'guerrilla twinning'. Once a toilet is
twinned, it receives a certificate, with its twin's photo and
The enthusiasm and fund-raising has been driven by the Vicar of
St Paul's, the Revd Chris Spittle. "Toilet twinning has really
captured the imagination of the churches in Skem," he says. "And
those we have shared it with have loved it, too. It's been great to
see churches, schools, care homes, businesses, shops, pubs,
community centres, and our Mayor and MP all agreeing to receive a
"It's a fun way to make a difference and tackle a really serious
He first introduced his own church to the idea in 2011, and set
the members of the congregation the target of twinning all four of
their own church lavatories, using a lavatory bowl for collecting.
They far exceeded their goal, raising enough to fund two latrines
and two school lavatory-blocks in Burundi.
Since then, the enthusiasm has spread across the town. There
have been many jokes, "but toilets are, literally, life-savers in
places where we work," Ms Kingsley says.