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Community spirit saves public toilets in Blairgowrie and Rattray from closure

Date: Monday 22 April

Community spirit saves public toilets in Blairgowrie and Rattray from closure

Pictured outside the public toilets in Blairgowrie are, from left, Linda Tait, chair of Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust, and John Reynolds, CEO of Castle Water. Photograph by Clare McMicking, CraicN Communications

Community spirit has saved the public toilets in the largest town in Perthshire from closure - and in response to the call from the local community to secure the future of the facilities, Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust (BRDT) has launched an appeal for support to ensure the toilets remain open.

The move comes after the development trust finalised an agreement with Perth and Kinross Council to lease the Wellmeadow premises, enabling the local community to take over the management and running of the public toilets. Perth and Kinross Council has committed to keep the toilets – which were due to close on March 31 - open until the transfer to BRDT is complete.

The facilities are going to be run by the community and BRDT is now appealing for services, financial donations and volunteers to ensure that the vital service is maintained.

The appeal has been given a significant boost by both Blairgowrie-based Castle Water Ltd, which has pledged to cover 50 per cent of the running costs of the public toilets on an annual basis, and Graham Environmental Services which has pledged operational support through Graham Hygiene Services, Graham Fire Protection and Graham Pest Control.

Linda Tait is chair of BRDT. She said: “The local authority announced last year that it would stop operating the toilets as of March 31 this year and since then BRDT, alongside Blairgowrie and Rattray Business Association (BARBA), Blairgowrie and East Perthshire Tourism Association (BEPTA), local ward councillors and community members, has been working on a long-term solution to keep the facilities in the town open.

“We carried out a public survey, which was completed by nearly 200 people, to gauge the level of support for the community to take over the public toilets in Blairgowrie and ensure they remained open, and the responses painted a fantastic picture of how vital the public toilets are to our town.

“There was also a wonderful response from people volunteering to help run the facilities, along with many willing to provide sponsorship to keep the toilets open.

“PKC listened to the community and appreciated the proactive approach taken to finding a solution to keep the public toilets running, agreeing to give BRDT a long-term lease on the building and hand over the existing facilities for us as a community to manage.

“We have been busy getting everything in order to make this happen and we now need the community to support the toilets going forward.”

BRDT is delighted that Castle Water and Graham Environmental Services have stepped forward to support those efforts.

Linda said: “We are extremely grateful to Castle Water, Graham Environmental Services, Tay Valet, Norman Laing & Co and Adventure into Books, and our community organisations and volunteers who have already come forward and offered their help.

“Independent financial contributions are also coming in as word gets out that the development trust is working hard on behalf of the community to get everything in place to take on the lease and running of these very important facilities.

“We would love to hear from other local businesses who feel they can offer their support through services or sponsorship to add to the sustainability of this venture.”

John Reynolds, CEO at Castle Water, said: “This is an important amenity for the vibrant and attractive Blairgowrie town centre. Castle Water provides water services to some of the finest loos in the land and we are keen to support Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust to ensure high quality facilities remain available to visitors to Blairgowrie’s amazing town centre.”

David Bain, director of digital and marketing at Castle Water, explained why supporting the local community is important to the company, commenting: “We do a lot of work in the local community because we are a large employer in the area, and we want to make sure that we build trust with the people and support the local economy where we can.

“The funds we have pledged will have a far-reaching impact on securing the future of tourism in the local area, which plays a vital role in the success of local businesses.”

Stuart Graham, managing director of Graham Fire Protection, added: “When Linda Tait got in touch from BRDT, I spoke to my fellow directors Ross Graham and Phil McKenna and the decision was made in about five seconds - of course we would love to help and support this project.

“We’re a local, family-run business, which has been established for over 30 years in Blairgowrie, so supporting and offering our services was the least we could do.”

Pictured are, from left, June Graham and Debbie Mitchell from Graham Environmental Services, Bob Swan, treasurer, BRDT, and Gwen Gray and Chloe O’Brien from Graham Environmental Services. Photograph courtesy of Clare McMicking / CraicN Communications

BRDT has created a community management team to help coordinate a team of volunteers that will run the toilets on a day-to-day basis.

Linda said: “The toilets will be professionally cleaned, so we’re just looking for volunteers who could help open and close the facilities and carry out routine checks to make sure that everything is in order. The more volunteers we have, the less work there is involved for everyone!

“We want to make the most of this opportunity to protect a vital service in the town and ensure that it becomes a valuable community asset that is welcoming, safe and fit for the 21st century.

“If you feel you could contribute to that goal in any way whatsoever, whether by volunteering, providing a service, covering supplies, sponsoring the annual running costs, or making a one-off donation for building repairs or refurbishment, please just get in touch.”

BRDT will have a stall at the next farmers’ and producers’ market in the Wellmeadow on Saturday, April 27, from 9am, as part of efforts to raise awareness of the appeal.  

BRDT is a community-led organisation that works towards combining community-led action with an enterprising approach to addressing and tackling local needs and issues and creating social, economic and environmental strength in the town. It is a constituted group with community membership and is supported by a wider network of Scottish organisations.

Donations can be made online on the Discover Blairgowrie website or via bank transfer - email for details. Any businesses that can donate a service or supplies should also email