PAMIS welcomed the opportunity to meet with Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport, Maree Todd earlier this month to discuss the Changing Places toilet (CPt) programme for Scotland as well as the development of a new dedicated fund to increase the number of CPt’s across the country.
The Scottish Government’s £10million investment in Changing Places toilets was initially announced in the Programme for Government 2021-2022 with a view to increasing the number of facilities in Scotland and support the development of mobile CPt’s to improve accessibility at outdoor events and venues. Building on the work that has previously been done to amend Scottish building regulations and planning legislation to introduce a mandatory CPt requirement in larger new public buildings, the capital investment programme will result in a significant increase in the number of these life changing facilities.
There are currently 266 registered CPts in Scotland, with the recent legislative changes positively impacting this number and beginning to capture venue types historically lacking in CPt provision. However, there are still significant gaps in provision across certain building types and geographical areas. For example, Clackmannanshire currently have no CPts at all and there is poor provision across Scotland’s islands and the North West region, making essential travel impossible for the group of people that PAMIS support, those with a profound learning and multiple disabilities and their families, as well as other people who require these life changing facilities.
As part of a recent survey and series of focus groups conducted by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers, respondents explained they are currently unable to visit many national and country parks, greenspaces and gardens as well as beaches due to the lack of appropriate toilet facilities. This presents a unique challenge since Scotland’s geography comprises large areas of remote or rural land. PAMIS have recently been involved in a number of community engagement projects looking at this very issue and were keen to share the outcomes and learning with the Minister and her team, with a view to supporting the development of the funding criteria and the delivery of a needs assessment for Scotland to ensure the fund makes maximum impact and addresses the current gaps in provision. Engaging with CPt users and people with lived experience to develop the most appropriate and beneficial funding criteria is a clear priority for the Minister.
PAMIS have already begun work on developing supportive resources for communities and fund applicants including a major re write of key CPt guidance publications in partnership with people with PMLD and other disabilities, their families, carers and industry experts.
Maree Todd confirmed the fund will launch in early 2025 following the completion of the development phase and user engagement.
Whilst we welcome Scottish Government investment in CPts, PAMIS’ priority will always remain ensuring the standards of the facilities meet user needs and building sustainability beyond the scope of this new fund. This will ensure communities across the country have their basic human rights met with equal access to essential sanitary facilities and the life changing opportunities that come with this.
For more information and guidance for those considering installing a CPt in both existing or new buildings, download Scottish Government’s Changing Places toilet Planning Guide HERE.
For free advice and support contact PAMIS at [email protected]