Radar keys

Radar keys explained

The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (Radar) was one of the three organisations which merged into Disability Rights UK in 2012 and we continue to steward the National Key Scheme. Here we explain about Radar keys and all the great reasons to buy from our charity shop.

Prior to Radar keys being introduced, it was notoriously difficult to find free, clean, accessible toilets due to public misuse and poor management of facilities.

Adding locks made the toilets easier to keep an eye on and maintain but it meant disabled people could only use them on request. This created separate problems when the key couldn’t be located by the staff member, or the person who had it wasn’t on duty that day.

Radar worked in partnership with Nicholls & Clarke, who invented the Radar locks that are still fitted and used today, to launch the National Key Scheme in 1981.

Nicholls and Clarke logo

Buying your own Radar key gives you independent access to over 9,000 disabled public toilets around the UK.

We kindly ask you not to buy cheap copies that may not work or from any company or private seller which uses the Radar name or Disability Rights UK logo to cash in on the scheme.

Buying from DR UK means you can be sure your disabled toilet key is manufactured and guaranteed by the makers of the Radar locks themselves. We rely on sales to maintain the integrity of the National Key Scheme. As a charity led directly by disabled people, we plough back 100% of any Radar key UK profits into funding our services, such as our free helplines and factsheets, innovative projects to support independent living and standing up for disabled people’s rights.    

This includes campaigning for the rights of people with non-visible conditions and to raise awareness of the fact that not everyone who needs an accessible toilet ‘looks disabled’.