Beach wheelchair loan scheme? Great idea!

A new scheme bringing beach wheelchairs to North Berwick has received £10,000 from our Investing in Ideas fund.  The funding awarded to the North Berwick Community Centre will mean that people of all abilities can now enjoy all that North Berwick’s beaches have to offer this summer.

The award will be used to pilot the scheme by purchasing specially adapted wheelchairs which will be loaned out from a new beach hut at North Berwick HarbourAnd its hoped that its success will be emulated across the rest of Scotland.

Alison Brown with her son Ethan

Behind the project are co-founders Jackie Tagg and Alison Brown who, having tested out the idea with local people, are confident that the scheme will be a success.

Alison, mother to six year old son Ethan who has brittle bone disease, said: “As a mum of a boy with a physical disability I know firsthand what a difference these wheelchairs can make.  We had the opportunity to use one in France last year and this allowed us to move about freely rather than carrying him to one fixed spot on the beach.  He was able to go right up to the shoreline, dabble with his net in rock pools and look for shells along the beach. I’m really looking forward to using the child’s beach wheelchair with my son so that he can meet his friends at the beach, something that we rarely did before.”

Jackie Tagg, added: “Since starting the project about a year ago we’ve been blown away by the support we have had and we’ve met individuals who have never been on the beach, and families that no longer go to the seaside as they can’t go onto the beach together.  This scheme will help to change that and our ultimate aim would be to replicate it in other parts of the country so more people can enjoy more of

Audrey Jones (aged 89) from North Berwick, trying out a beach wheelchair
Audrey Jones (aged 89) from North Berwick, trying out a beach wheelchair

Scotland’s beautiful beaches.”

Announcing the award, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “Today’s funding will help this seaside town turn an ambitious idea into a groundbreaking project; one which has the potential to change lives locally and across the country. This will be Scotland’s first mainland beach wheelchair loan scheme that will help people to focus on their abilities, rather than their disability.”

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