Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have welcomed the accessibility improvements that Minister for Energy, Connectivity and Islands Paul Wheelhouse announced earlier this week. The £72,000 investment in improving accessibility includes the welcome introduction of Changing Places facilities on the MV Hebrides which will provide truly accessible toilets that offer a much more dignified toilet and changing facility on this ferry.
In welcoming this investment Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chair of Transportation also expressed concern that reports are circulating that Calmac Ferries are removing 2 of the 6 call centre jobs they committed to locating in Stornoway as part of a drive to ensure more jobs were located in island communities instead of the central belt headquarters in Gourock, Inverclyde.
Cllr Robertson said “I am very pleased to see the Minister announce these initiatives that will remove barriers to people travelling by ferry particularly the very welcome Changing Places facility as I understand the current facilities on MV Hebrides did not allow people of all abilities to access the toilet and changing facilities. It is important that everyone can confidently travel to our islands. I hope the Minister can also act to ensure that the commitment made by Calmac in 2019 to locate customer service staff in Stornoway with a focus on ensuring access to Gaelic speaking customer service staff is also maintained and restated without any reduction in island based staff.”