Accessibility funding announced for Scotland’s ferry services

Ferry services are to receive a funding boost to help improve accessibility for passengers, the Scottish Government has announced.

Around £80,000 will be awarded to Serco NorthLink Ferries and the National Autistic Society.

The funds will go towards plans to include the provision of Changing Places facilities on board vessels, as well as specialist equipment and staff training to help autistic passengers.

Changing Places toilet facilities are designed to meet the needs of people with complex care needs.

They have previously been installed at train stations, including in Dundee.

The investment, from the Ferries Accessibility Fund, will also see the creation of an app outlining the specialist assistance available to passengers at each of the terminals on the Northern Isles ferry network.

Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “We want Scotland’s ferry services to be fully accessible, offering the best passenger experience possible to everyone. Operators already have strict standards to meet when it comes to accessibility but this fund can help them to go further.

“The improvements made through previous awards have been a great success, so it’s very encouraging that more organisations have seen the potential to make positive changes and brought forward some excellent proposals.

“We know that accessible travel can enable people to enjoy equal access to full citizenship so, as part of our Accessible Travel Framework, we want to identify and remove disabling barriers which prevent people travelling or make their journeys an unpleasant experience.”

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