SCOTLAND’S only beach wheelchair loan scheme has been given the green light, thanks to Big Lottery funding.
The scheme was awarded at the North Berwick Community Centre.
The £10,000 National Lottery award has been made through the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Ideas programme, which provides small grants that enables groups to test and develop their ideas.
Beach wheelchairs, with specially designed wheels to cope with wet or dry sand, will soon be available for rent, free of charge, from the Beach hut at North Berwick harbour.
This will give wheelchair users of all ages the chance to enjoy a day beside the seaside with their family and friends.
It is hoped that the project will eventually be replicated across the rest of Scotland.
Over the last few months the group has worked closely with the local community and have received positive feedback from over 100 local families.
In February this year they held a busy ‘come and try’ event where people road tested various types of wheelchairs.
Co-founder and Chair of the Beach Wheelchair project, Alison Brown, said “As a mum of a six year old 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.”
Co-founder and Secretary, 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 Scotland’s beautiful beaches.”