National continence charity tackles under-representation

National continence charity tackles under-representation


Written by: Bonny Brooks

Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence (ERIC), the national charity providing information and support on childhood problems of bedwetting, daytime wetting, constipation and soiling, is anxious to extend its work within Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities.

Around one in twelve young people in the UK are affected, but it has become apparent that ERIC’s services are not being accessed proportionately by BME groups.

ERIC runs a confidential Helpline on 0845 370 8008 (10am-4pm Monday-Friday), where any parent, child or professional can access support and information, a website ( providing discussion and information forums and a range of leaflets available to download free, as well as a shop with many helpful materials for managing continence problems.

‘The trouble with bedwetting’, says Constance Briscoe, pioneering Black female judge and ERIC patron, ‘is that it scars your childhood and makes you feel quite unworthy. I was conscious that I was different from my brothers and sisters. I prayed most nights for a miracle to stop me wetting the bed.’

The average weekly cost to parents of a child with continence problems is around £30, and it is also not unusual for some parents to have to give up their jobs because of repeated calls from a school throughout the day that they deal with a continence issue.

There are several key ways in which ERIC is working to address BME under-representation in their work. As well as national moves to engage with BME organisations and media, it is running an outreach project in parts of the south-west, with a view to supporting under-represented groups more directly and finding out what their needs are.

You can find out more by emailing:, or calling 0117 301 2107 (Monday-Wednesday). ERIC is also producing an information sheet in six different languages, as well as working with Language Line to provide translation for callers speaking different languages.

Related links

ERIC’s website for young people

ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence), 34 Old School House, Britannia Road, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 8DB. Tel: 0117 960 3060. Helpline Tel: 0845 370 8008. Fax:0117 960 0401.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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