Funding joy after break-in misery at Wester Ross public toilets

© DC ThomsonCommunity Out West Trust member and cleaner of the toilets, Carole MacIver and on the right is company director Mary Peart.
Community Out West Trust member and cleaner of the toilets, Carole MacIver and on the right is company director Mary Peart.

A Wester Ross community group is celebrating a funding award to invest in the public toilets it took over in April.

The £2,000 windfall from the National Lottery for Kinlochewe public toilets is particularly good news for residents, who expressed dismay last month after the toilet donations box was broken into and cash taken.

After replacing the box with a stronger one and deciding to put in CCTV, the group, Community Out West, declared that nothing would stop them.

The funds will enable the trust to start upgrading of the facilities so that more energy efficient heating and lighting can be installed, as well as taps that will reduce usage of water.

Director Mary Peart said: “These will be more environmentally friendly as well as reducing running costs in the future.

“The funds will also allow the installation of noticeboards that will be used to celebrate the varied attractions of the local area and local businesses.”

Community Out West was formed by volunteers in March this year to run Kinlochewe toilets after Highland Council closed them last autumn.

Ms Peart said: “Kinlochewe is a key stopping point on the NC500. With the toilets there providing important facilities for locals and the increasing number of tourists, our community decided it could not stand by and simply let them be closed.

“An average of 900 people used the toilets each week during the tourist season, and the indications are that numbers are higher this year.

“The toilets make sure that everyone, especially the elderly, less mobile and those with particular health needs have access to essential basic services.”

© DC Thomson
The village toilets in Kinlochewe.

Fellow director Karen Twist said: “We’re delighted that the National Lottery community fund has recognised our work in this way.

“Now we will be able to press on with our plans to upgrade the facilities. This is important as it will make the toilets more sustainable and will help us to achieve our two goals of making these toilets ‘the best in the west’ and keeping them open all year.”