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We wish to provide equal opportunity for anyone who wishes to access the beach and sea to be able to do so, regardless of ability! We have been very aware, particularly during lockdown when we had the wonderful isle of Wight beaches to ourselves, that access is limited to those who are physically able to climb steps, walk over sand and change under a towel!
Sometimes it isn’t simply access but time, knowledge and confidence. Our aim is to raise money so we can provide these elements that will allow anyone, regardless of ability, to enjoy the benefits of Blue Health, the beach and, if they wish, the sea.
We would also like to help anyone to improve their health and wellbeing by encouraging them to access the beach regardless of ability, encourage them to take regular exercise and enjoy doing so for both their physical and mental health benefits.
To be able to do this we will be learning from people themselves what they need, not making a decision about what we think they need although there are a few items that many people have mentioned such as matting for wheelchairs that lay over the sand; beach wheelchairs for both mobility and access to the water; swimming aids for those who need them; the list is, probably going to be extensive and costly.
One of the biggest difficulties in accessing the beach is accessibility. Sand can be like glue to a standard wheelchair but there are options available such as the EZ Roller Beach wheelchair which, including VAT, is about £2500. Designed for the beach and water this would allow a person with mobility issues to access the sea, maybe the first time for many!
25 x 2 metres of beach matting and a roller for easy deployment and retrieval is about £8000.
The kit is available, it is just expensive but with a pool of items we could offer many people the opportunity to enjoy the beach and sea, improve their mental and physical health and give them an experience they might otherwise not be able to enjoy.
Collaboration & Consultation
We have connected with and are grateful to a number of individuals and organisations who have discussed accessibility to the sea on the IOW and open water swimming for those with additional needs. Including the following:
Chris and Laura from Parability
Ruth from Sight For Wight
Trevor from Dinosaur Isle
Active Living, Riverside
We are planning to or would like to meet up with:
West Wight Sports & Community Centre
The Way Forward
Local Town and Parish Councils