More Changing Places toilets are in the pipeline in Falkirk district after two such facilities were opened at the Mariner Leisure Centre in Camelon and Grangemouth Sports Complex in recent weeks.
A campaign by MSPs Michael Matheson and Angus MacDonald and MPs John McNally and Martyn Day to encourage local venues to install suitable toilets for disabled children and adults with complex needs has received a huge boost after Falkirk Council confirmed that they will open at least three more Changing Places toilets across the area.
The council provided the funding for, and worked in conjunction with, Falkirk Community Trust to install the facilities at the sports centres in Camelon and Grangemouth.
It has now been confirmed that the Central Advice Hub and the West Advice Hub, which will open following renovations at Falkirk Library and Carronbank House in Denny, will both have a Changing Places toilet.
Additionally, upgrading work at Oswald Avenue Day Centre in Grangemouth will include a Changing Places toilet. It’s hoped that this facility, along with the one in Denny, will be accessible 24 hours a day with an electronic key card.
Meanwhile, following an approach from the council, Forth Valley College has agreed to open its Changing Places toilet to the public.
In more good news, NHS Forth Valley confirmed that it is planning to convert two disabled toilets in the outpatient department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert into a Changing Places toilet. It will be accessible from the hospital’s main atrium and should be open by the middle of October.
The Scottish Railway Preservation Society also assured the SNP politicians that a Changing Places toilet will be installed as part of a significant development programme at Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway. The project, which will involve extending the station building, is likely to be undertaken in the next two to three years.
In a joint statement, the SNP parliamentarians said: “We welcome Falkirk Council, the Community Trust and the Health and Social Care Partnership’s wide-ranging efforts to bring Changing Places toilets to buildings across the district. This will make a huge difference to families with disabled children and adults with complex needs by giving them greater freedom to be out and about in the local area.
“We’re also delighted by NHS Forth Valley’s commitment to provide a Changing Places toilet at Forth Valley Royal Hospital within months and are grateful that Forth Valley College is making its facility in Falkirk available to the wider public.
“It’s great news, too, that Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway will get a Changing Places toilet in the coming years, which will no doubt make it an even more welcoming attraction for residents of Falkirk district and visitors from further afield.
“We will continue to offer support wherever possible to other local venues who might consider installing such facilities.”
Changing Places toilets have room for up to two carers and a wheelchair, a hoist and tracking system and an adult changing bench. This means that, unlike ordinary disabled toilets, they are suitable for people with more complex needs.