Charity to help improve access on to beach

The official launch of the new wheelchairs on Tynemouth Longsands.
The official launch of the new wheelchairs on Tynemouth Longsands.

A new charity has been launched to help make beaches more accessible for disabled people.

Beach Access North East is looking to help people in wheelchairs to access Tynemouth Longsands, as well as Blyth Beach.

The charity, which has recently appointed Paralympian Stephen Miller as honorary president, will provide beach wheelchairs, mobi mat and other equipment at the beaches.

The wheelchairs allow individuals with disabilities to access the beach in custom-built chairs, and mobi mat allows wheelchair users access in their own wheelchairs.

Stephen tried the chairs for the first time last year and when the charity asked him to get involved he jumped at the chance.

He said: “Being able to get onto the beach is something which can be really difficult for disabled people, especially those in wheelchairs.

“Having the opportunity to try the beach wheelchairs last year was great fun and I am now so excited to be able to work with Beach Access North East to bring this chance to more people.”

Caroline Corfield, trustee for Beach Access North East, said: “We’re really pleased to have Stephen onboard, he has a very high profile in the North East and is such an inspiration, especially to young people.”

The charity is seeking volunteers who are able to meet up on the beach and log out the equipment by appointment.

Lorna Moore, of the charity, said: “The more volunteers we have the less often we will need to call on them.”

For more on how to book the chairs, become a volunteer, or on the charity contact 0300 999 4444, option 2 for Tynemouth.

Cullercoats councillor Karen Lee said: “Sue and her team have achieved something brilliant here.

“We showcased these chairs on the beach at Christmas.

“It’s a life changing initiative benefiting people that would otherwise not be able to enjoy our glorious beaches.”