University of Dundee University of Dundee
Text only

28 February 2014

International recognition for PAMIS

University of Dundee-based charity PAMIS has gained international recognition for its work on behalf of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their families.

The organisation, which campaigns for greater provision of facilities for those who require personal assistance to use public conveniences, has received an Accessible Award from the global Zero Project organisation as an example of outstanding innovative practice. Zero Project's mission is to create a world without any barriers to participation. Worldwide, it finds and shares models that improve the daily lives and legal rights of all persons with disabilities.

The focus of the year 2014 is accessibility, and a presentation of PAMIS's work is being made to the Zero Project Conference at the United Nations offices in Vienna today. Joyce Burns, a Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist from NHS Tayside, will introduce the PAMIS and Changing Places Consortium's work at the conference and will accept the award on their behalf.

PAMIS CEO Loretto Lambe said, 'We were delighted that the work of the Changing Places Consortium is gaining international recognition. The challenges faced by people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their families are the same across the world.'

Decision makers, business leaders and NGOs at regional, national and international levels will discuss some of the best practices that have been selected under the Zero Project and other successful European examples reconciling accessibility measures with tourism and heritage.

The overall aim of the conference is to highlight the potential and opportunities of accessible tourism within cities. Furthermore it serves to raise awareness of everyone's right to equal access to tourism services and destinations and to present some success factors and lessons from best practice in the field.

Founded 22 years ago, PAMIS is the only organisation in Scotland that works solely with people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their families to enable inclusion and improve their quality of life. People with such complex needs require a high level of support and face many barriers to participating in community life.

The majority of PAMIS clients are lifelong wheelchair users and are also likely to have sensory impairments with either vision or hearing affected, and in some cases, limitations to both senses. Together with Mencap, PAMIS, launched the 'Changing Places, Changing Lives' campaign in 2006 to lobby for assisted changing toilets to be installed in public places across the UK to allow freedom of movement and dignity for everyone.

More than 230,000 people across the UK are estimated to require personal assistance to use the toilet. PAMIS is campaigning for 100 'Changing Places' toilet facilities to be installed across Scotland by 2015 as highlighted in 'Keys to Life', the new learning disability strategy in Scotland.

Assisted changing toilets - known as Changing Places - are different to disabled toilets as they contain specialist equipment, including hoists and adult-sized changing benches to enable those with complex disabilities to use public conveniences in the community alongside the rest of society.

Other members of the Changing Places Consortium include MENCAP, the Centre for Accessible Environment, Nottingham City Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council and The Scottish Government.

For media enquiries contact:
Roddy Isles
Head, Press Office
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384910
MOBILE: 07800 581902