Wheelchair to help children to go on beach

By Siobhan Fletcher   |   Reporter   |
Saturday 2nd July 2022 4:49 am
@siobhanfletcher
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A child’s beach wheelchair, which will give disabled children access at Port Erin, was launched on Friday (Dave Kneale/Isle of Man Newspapers )

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Disability Networks have launched a new junior wheelchair in Port Erin to provide beach access for children.

Everyone braved the rain to attend the official launch of the wheelchair at the Cosy Nook.

The charity said: ‘Thank you so much for making it a positive and happy event.

‘All involved have been fantastically supportive.’

The chair is suitable for children aged five to 11 and will be based at Port Erin’s Cosy Nook for use when the weather is suitable as a seasonal pop-up service.

It has been made possible thanks to financial support from Zurich, a Manx Telecom ‘It’s Our Community’ award, a generous donation from Isle of Man Self-Caterers’ Association and smaller donations from the island community.

We spoke to Disability Networks for our charity feature series earlier this year.

When discussing the new child-size chair, coordinator Beth Martin said: ‘It never fails to humble us when the community rallies round.

‘It has been very difficult to raise awareness of what we do during the pandemic when all leaflets have been removed in public places and holding events was fraught with difficulties.

‘We are proud to have raised the funds required in just under a year for this chair.

‘We also have another exciting plan that has just been confirmed but we will reveal more details of that in due course.

‘Suffice it to say for now that we are deeply chuffed and it chimes well with our aims.’

It is hoped that the beach-accessing tool will help those who need it, either due to a temporary problem or long-term condition.

It will operate from 11am to sundown at the Cosy Nook – which is usually closed on Mondays and Tuesdays – until the end of September.

There is also already an adult beach wheelchair available at the site.

To book, you can call the commissioners on 832298.

They are also currently preparing an online booking system.

Elsewhere, an adult beach wheelchair is already permanently based at Outdoors Ramsey on Ramsey’s South Promenade.

This service is available during shop opening hours in Ramsey (which is shut on Sundays) and it can be booked by telephoning 819082.

The chairs are manual and those who want to use it will need someone fit enough to push it.

A top combined weight of 18 stones permitted in the adult wheelchair, all items included.

The chairs are suitable for sandy and shingle beaches but are unsuitable for stony beaches due to the soft tyres.

The big tyres can travel easily on the sandy ground and ‘gives a very comfortable ride’.

Both adult chairs have a drinks holder and a fishing line holder, and the child’s chair has a drinks holder.

Port Erin’s and Ramsey’s adult chairs now both have a footrest that swings out of the way to improve access.

More information is available on the charity’s Facebook page.

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