The Story So Far
Fleetwood resident Michael Gray lives close to the Promenade. He saw people unable to access the beach and wanted to do something about the issue. Mick is an active member of the Town's vibrant Rotary group and they supported and encouraged his idea from the start. He approached Healthier Fleetwood for advice on how to proceed and a steering group including local residents and representatives of Fleetwood Council and Wyre Council was formed to take the idea forward.
We've been inspired by the wonderful North Berwick Beach Wheelchairs (pictured), who have helped over 1,000 people enjoy their Town's beach since 2015. While the numbers in North Berwick are impressive, the real measure of success is the experiences and memories created, and the pleasure gained from what many of us take for granted ... time on the beach with friends and family. This is what we wanted to create in Fleetwood ...
Autumn 2018 ... Using a couple of chairs provided by Adventure Mobility, a supplier to the North Berwick group, we held a demonstration afternoon in Fleetwood and were able to give a few residents and visitors the opportunity to access the beach. In some cases this was the first time in years that the individual had been able to experience this simple pleasure and it was an emotional afternoon for all concerned ... read more
Spring 2019 ... Following the success of the demonstration afternoon and a lot more research into what we were taking on, the decision was made to go ahead with the project. In truth we learned a few things in the early months of planning that lead to us to looking at different options and bringing in more people to the steering group but while progress was sometimes slow we never lost sight of the aim which is to make a difference to people's lives and create treasured memories.
Summer 2019 ... A big step forward was the support of our first major sponsor. A locally-based, charitable body pledged the funds to purchase our first chair and cover our set up costs while we began negotiations for a permanent base for the service and submitted our own application for charity status. We also began to contact many local organisations and companies to form links we will need to make the service sustainable in the future.
February 2020 ... fantastic news! We are now officially a registered charity and can start to make plans for launching the service on a trial basis with the chair we have, while we bid for additional funding and develop our range of chairs and facilities even further.
Summer 2020 update ... With the invaluable assistance of Wyre Council, we have been offered premises just metres from the Promenade and beach. It will take a few weeks to complete the paperwork and prepare the facility but having a 'home' is another great boost for us.
September 2020 ... We're Open! Our official launch was on the weekend of Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September with residents and visitors trying the chairs and having fun on the beach with their family and friends, in some cases for the first time!
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