A children’s charity has showed its support for a new Changing Place, which will aid families it supports.
NorthLink Ferries has installed the toilet facilities on board the MV Hrossey, which travels between Aberdeen and Shetland.
A Changing Place is a certified disabled facility which meets specific criteria, including having a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench, a hoist system, adequate space for the disabled person and up to two carers, a centrally-placed toilet with room on each side and a screen or curtain in order to provide privacy.
Charlie House, which supports children and young people with complex disabilities and/or life-limiting conditions, praised the move, which will make travelling easier for families.
Facilities are also open on MV Hjaltland, and will be available on MV Hamnavoe by the end of the year.
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At the moment, families often have to use disabled toilets, which are not always suitable, especially if the child is older. As the charity covers the north-east, as well as Orkney and Shetland, when its proposed new specialist-support facility is built, it will allow residents of those areas to easily access the facilities, as travelling with suitable toilets will not be a concern.
Leigh Ryrie, children and family support manager for Charlie House, said: “The creation of these new Changing Spaces on board the vessels travelling between Aberdeen and Orkney and Shetland is a real game changer for the families we support.
“The spaces really do ensure fully accessible transport for all and make it possible for families to make the lengthy trip from the Northern Isles to Aberdeen and vice-versa.
“Charlie House covers the same catchment area as NHS Grampian – Aberdeen City, Shire, Moray, Orkney and Shetland – and once our specialist support centre is complete at Woodend Hospital, this accessible travel will make it much easier for families in the Northern Isles to travel to us for residential respite.”
Stuart Garrett, Serco’s managing director at NorthLink Ferries, said: “This investment is another sign of our commitment to making our facilities as welcoming as possible to everyone in the community. It will open up opportunities for many people with disabilities and their familes to visit some of the most beautiful parts of Scotland.”