It is difficult to understand the problems faced by disabled people unless you are disabled yourself or care for a disabled person.

Things that appear insignificant to most people can be a major obstacle to a disabled person. Accessible toilets are a good example of this.

When we are away from home or travelling, we all need access to a toilet, but for disabled people this can often be a serious problem. For example, many toilets that are described as ‘accessible’ or ‘disabled’ toilets may be appropriate for a person who has mild arthritis and uses a walking stick but may not be appropriate for a wheelchair user who needs a carer to assist them.

It is interesting to see that ‘Changing Places’ is campaigning for a ‘Changing Places’ toilet to be installed in Kirkby Stephen. This would be the first in Eden, although there are already some in Carlisle. ‘Changing Places’ toilets include enough space and the right equipment for people with the most serious disabilities and are kept safe and clean.

This is not only the right thing to do, but essential if Cumbria is to encourage people to visit or locate their businesses here.

We need to think more seriously about this especially as we think about how to re-start the economy when the coronavirus pandemic is over.

Some ‘Changing Places’ toilets would be very welcome for those with the most serious disabilities in all parts of Cumbria.

Adrian Waite

Chair, Penrith & the Border Liberal-Democrats