The National Lottery funded DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) Programme has today announced funding for Scottish research into the accessibility of toilets for disabled people using public transport.
The project will be led by the Edinburgh Centre for Research on the Experience of Dementia. The Centre will work in partnership with charity PAMIS, dementia experts and training providers Upstream, as well as individuals with first-hand experience of dementia.
The UK-wide DRILL research programme was launched in 2015 – a scheme led by disabled people and funded by the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. The programme is being delivered over 5 years by Inclusion Scotland, Disability Action Northern Ireland, Disability Wales and Disability Rights UK.
DRILL funds innovative projects exploring new ways in which disabled people can live as full citizens in society. All DRILL projects are led by disabled people or people with long term health conditions, working in partnership with academics and policy makers.
Six Scotland based research projects, totalling over £445,000, have been supported by DRILL so far. This includes research into: decision-making by people with learning disabilities, the participation of people with mental health conditions in public life, self-directed support in Scotland, social strategies used by autistic people, and adapted social housing.
Professor Heather Wilkinson, Director of the ECRED centre at the University of Edinburgh, said:
“I am delighted to be leading on this innovative and important project to improve the design and findability of accessible toilets when travelling. By bringing together a diverse range of people, and working with strong partners, we will create a strong united voice on the top priorities and solutions that service providers should focus on when designing and assessing their provision. The funding will enable us to produce guidance and an audit tool to help develop accessible toilet provision.”
Dr Sally Witcher, Chief Executive Officer at Inclusion Scotland, said:
“We are delighted to see the important issue of toilets and transport join Scotland’s fantastic portfolio of DRILL funded projects. Access to toilets is obviously a basic requirement for anyone wishing to travel and is something that most people just take for granted. However, not having access to toilets has a major impact on disabled people’s freedom to travel where and when they want and, therefore, their ability to achieve independent living.”
“With decision-making, participation in public life, Self-Directed Support, housing, autism and now toilet access as themes, DRILL continues to support disabled people in Scotland to lead high quality research into the issues which matter to us most.”