Funding awarded for two Changing Places washroom facilities in Craven

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SETTLE and Grassington are to get improved disabled toilet facilities from Changing Places following a successful bid for £98,400 in funding.

Unlike standard disabled toilets, locker rooms are larger, accessible facilities. They include specialist equipment such as hoists, curtains, changing benches for adults and also space for caregivers.

Craven currently has four such facilities, but all of them are in Skipton. Now, following an offer from Craven District Council, with the help of community organisations, Changing Places will be installed at the assisted living facility, Limestone View in Settle, and at the National Park Visitor Center in Grassington.

Paul Ellis, Director of Council Services, said: “We are committed to making Craven an accessible and safe place for all of our visitors and residents. I am delighted that the funding obtained allows people with severe disabilities to enjoy all that their region has to offer with dignity and freedom.

Bidding for the £98,400 was a team effort. In Settle, organizations such as Dementia Forward, Age UK North Craven, The Place Settle and Settle Town Council all wanted to have a Changing Places facility. Limestone View was chosen as a suitable location as it is a supported housing site, acts as a community centre, hosts the town library, offers a range of community activities and is adjacent to one of the car parks from the city.

The owner, Housing 21 was happy to back the bid and agreed to clean up the facility. The council also secured support from North Yorkshire County Council who agreed to fund long-term maintenance inspections.

The Changing Places installation in Grassington will be one of the first in the national park, alongside Hawes’ installation at the Dales Countryside Museum.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which wants to improve accessibility in the Dales, will lead the development of the Grassington Changing Places facility, which will be located in an existing public toilet block in the car park.

The proposal has received support from a wide range of organizations including the Local Access Forum, Access For All UK, Accessible Derbyshire, Disabled Ramblers, Open Country and YDNPA Member Champion and President.

Nick Cotton, National Park Member Champion for Recreation Management, said: “To use toilets safely and comfortably, many people need to be able to access a Changing Places toilet. These have more space and the right equipment, including a height-adjustable changing bench and a winch.

“Having this facility in two locations in the heart of the national park will be a tremendous boost in opening up the region to everyone.”

Helen Firth, president of the Craven Disability Forum. She said: ‘These new Changing Places toilets will allow people with disabilities to enjoy a greater range of leisure and socializing opportunities in the Craven area.’

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