Two more communities hope to bring beach wheelchairs to the Northumberland coast

More beach wheelchairs could be rolled out on the Northumberland coast in time for next summer.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 11:16 am
Beach wheelchairs could be coming to Beadnell and Newton-by-the-Sea.

Beadnell and Newton-by-the-Sea community groups are working with charity Beach Access North East (BANE) to improve disabled access to their beaches.

They are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Bamburgh which started up its own beach wheelchair scheme earlier this year.

BANE volunteer Susan Rowley said: “We’re very hopeful that beach wheelchair schemes will be introduced at both Beadnell and Newton-by-the-Sea by next spring.

"The situation at Newton is a little more complicated in that the land is owned by the National Trust but the parish council is in talks with them and we hope they will be successful in getting permission to put a small storage shed up.”

It is understood a donation has been made towards a beach wheelchair at Newton, while community volunteers are progressing Beadnell’s bid. BANE is keen to support both schemes in their funding efforts.

The charity now has around 30 beach wheelchairs along the region’s coastline, including Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, South Shields, Sunderland and Hartlepool.

"It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come since we started in 2017,” said Susan.

“It’s been great to see the project grow, particularly the way it is doing so now in Northumberland.”

Meanwhile, Bamburgh recently received its third beach wheelchair, an electric model to go alongside its adult and child all-terrain buggies.

Cllr Kirsty Dobson, who has helped coordinate the scheme for Bamburgh Parish Council, said the first summer season had gone very well.

"Both the Hippocampe manual wheelchairs have been well used all summer,” she told members. “We’re advising users to come with two able-bodied helpers because of the soft sand.

"We took delivery of the electric wheelchair two weeks ago and it’s hardly been in the shed since. It’s excellent through the sand.

"I’d like to thank all the volunteers and contributors. It really has had a genuine improvement on the quality of life for families living with disability.”

There are also plans to improve the surface of the track leading from the beach wheelchair shed to the beach.

Berwick Community Trust is also exploring potential funding for a beach wheelchair at Spittal.

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