Celebrations as Fleetwood Beach Wheelchairs scheme is a winner at Lancashire Tourism Awards

The team behind a Fleetwood-based project which allows disabled people full access to the beach are celebrating after a Lancashire Tourism Awards win.

By Richard Hunt
Friday, 4th February 2022, 1:11 pm

Trustees of the Fleetwood Beach Wheelchairs scheme were delighted after the project won the award for accessibility and exclusivity.

A registered charity, the scheme allows people to hire the specially adapted wheelchair free of charge from its base on Fleetwood's Central Promenade, opposite the Mount Hotel.

The remarkable chairs have fat, all terrain tyres and greater manoeuvrability which make it much easier to push a relative over sand and pebbles - and they can even float in the water.

The Trustees of the Fleetwood Beach Wheelchair scheme celebrate the project's award

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Mick Gray, who is chairman of the non-profit organisation, had noticed that families with a wheelchair-user often had to leave them on the pavement overlooking the beach while

they enjoyed walking on the sand and running into the sea.

He was inspired after seeing a similar project in Scotland and felt sure it could work not only in Fleetwood but across the whole of the Fylde coast, provided there was the required funding to set the project up.

Mick Gray(left) chairman of Fleetwood Beach Wheelchairs, with fellow trustee Reece Slater at the awards event

Backed by a £7,836 grant from Fleetwood Town Council and an earlier donation of £2,500 by Fleetwood Rotary Club, the project was able to become a registered charity two year ago and is run by volunteers

Mick said of the award, praised volunteers for making the scheme possible and said: "We are thrilled, its recognition for all our volunteers do in making our beach accessible for people with disabilities.

"The beach wheelchair base is raring to go, is open for bookings and looking forward to our improving weather when many more people will enjoy the benefit of this

service."

Mick Gray with some of the special beach wheelchairs

Although the service is free to use, funding is always needed to pay the rent on the base, insurance, administration costs and repair and maintenance of the 10 wheelchairs, and the project relies on donations.

For more information about about Fleetwood Beach Wheelchairs, visit: https://www.fleetwoodbeachwheelchairs.co.uk/