A CLYDEBANK charity’s plan to install a Changing Places toilet facility at its HQ is set to become reality after a £20,000 grant bid was approved.

Golden Friendships’ application was backed by members of West Dunbartonshire Council’s corporate services committee – after an agonising wait of several weeks.

As previously reported in the Post, the charity had submitted a bid to the Alexander Cross Cameron Trust Fund, which is overseen by WDC.

But the bid looked doomed to fail after council officials said the toilet plan did not meet the criteria set out by the fund’s trustees.

However, the councillors who decide whether to make awards from the fund instead referred the case to the authority’s more powerful corporate services committee – and at a special meeting last week, that committee agreed to approve Golden Friendships’ application.

Changing Places facilities cater for people with serious and profound physical and learning disabilities.

They include a height-adjustable changing bench, a tracking hoist system or mobile hoist, space for the disabled person and up to two carers, a screen or curtain to allow some privacy, a wide tear-off paper roll to cover the bench, and a non-slip floor.

Clydebank Waterfront councillor Danny Lennie told the committee’s meeting on April 21: “Golden Friendships building this toilet is not just a matter of a toilet. The team do an incredible job for our community which is why this is something we should get behind.”

The committee also recommended looking into options for other locations for ‘changing places’ facilities around West Dunbartonshire.

Council leader Jonathan McColl said: “This will be the first publicly adult accessible toilet in West Dunbartonshire for a group that is much valued in the community.

“This is something we have been looking at for a long time and had been put on hold because of the pandemic. This is a good opportunity to resurrect it and see how we can deliver more of these publicly available, not just for residents but for visitors.

“Adults who needed a changing place are excluded or change on a dirty floor. That is not a dignified way to treat a human being.”

Jim McLaren, founder of Golden Friendships, told the Post: “We are delighted with the news of the grant being awarded. A Changing Places toilet can open a new world to wheelchair users who can now attend our club, socialise with new potential friends, and hopefully be a major boost to their confidence and wellbeing.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to WDC and all the councillors involved in making this happen.”