Cumbria Crack

New fund to help South Lakeland communities improve disabled changing facilities

[A] £50,000 council fund could help to tackle the lack of changing facilities for people with disabilities in South Lakeland.

Members of South Lakeland District Council’s Cabinet heard how children with disabilities have to be changed in inappropriate places because of a shortage of proper facilities.

SLDC’s Leader, Councillor Giles Archibald, said: “A teaching assistant told me how children with disabilities are changed on the floor of public toilets or in the back of a minibus, with staff protecting their privacy as best they can.

“Clearly we have to do something about this. We want people with additional needs and disabilities to be able to enjoy the area to the maximum and that means ensuring they have proper changing facilities.”

Under the new proposals local communities would be invited to bid for the funding to create or improve their existing disabled changing facilities.

The money would be allocated through the existing New Homes Bonus, where government matches the council tax raised on new homes and properties brought back into use. SLDC uses the New Homes Bonus funds to address the needs of local communities.

“We already know from the success of our Locally Important Projects funding, where communities bid for grants to help finance neighbourhood schemes, that seed funding can help to kick start initiatives and attract more funding.

“Similarly, this £50,000 council fund would enable local communities to bid for money to improve their disabled toilets and changing facilities.

“Helping community groups, clubs and organisations such as local town and parish councils to put in place proper facilities is something which I’m sure everybody would want to see,” added Cllr Archibald.

SLDC’s Cabinet praised the work of Changing Places, a national organisation which is campaigning for better facilities for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.

The proposals go to a meeting of full council later this month.

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