Eden District Council submits bid for Changing Places funding

Eden District Council’s Economic Development and Tourism team recently submitted a funding application to the Changing Places Levelling Up fund as part of Inspiring Eden: the Council’s plan for economic recovery, prosperity and levelling up.

The submission was made in partnership with three Eden businesses who are keen to offer changing facilities to benefit both visitors and local residents.

Changing places offer those with profound disabilities an array of facilities that are not available in a standard accessible toilet. This means that thousands of people who were previously unable to holiday in and visit the area, attractions, food and retail establishments would be able to do so.

Eden is a large rural area with four main towns, widely dispersed geographically, and a number of villages and hamlet communities. There is currently very limited changing places provision with very limited facilities in the area. The Cumbria Visitor Survey 2018 shows that 19% of the visitors to Eden have a disability, and according to the 2021/22 Census, 20% of the resident population in Eden have a disability.

Eden is a popular holiday destination and continues to welcome increasing number of visitors every year; in 2019, over five million visitors came to the district. It is anticipated that this trend will continue with the increased demand for UK based holidays.

Consultation and research has been carried out with local businesses through the public/private sector partnership the Eden Tourism Network, about the requirement and benefits of changing place facilities. Feedback confirms a demand for this facility within the area, the lack of which is seen as a barrier to visit, plan journeys and go on holiday.

Cllr Mary Robinson, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economy and Enterprise at Eden District Council, said:

“We are delighted that Eden has submitted an application to this fund which will help drive delivery of the Council’s priorities to provide healthy, safe and secure environment and as a result achieve prosperity for all, a key priority of Inspiring Eden. This would mean that people who were previously unable to enjoy visiting our beautiful area would now have the freedom to do so and the benefits to their health and wellbeing cannot be understated. The provision of Changing Places facilities would also give access to a potential new sector of the visitor market and help generate additional expenditure in the local economy for a broad range of businesses. I would also like to commend the team in actively seeking funding opportunities to benefit our area and resident communities.”

The successful applicants to this fund will be announced in early 2023.