Mae Murray Foundation is committed to making beaches across Northern Ireland accessible to people with physical, learning and sensory needs. Its Portstewart Inclusive Beach project provides beach wheelchairs and walking frames to allow disabled people the chance to enjoy the simple pleasures of the seaside.
A trip to the beach is one of life’s simple pleasures, yet for too long a day at the seaside has been a challenge too far for many people across the British Isles, particularly those with physical, learning and sensory needs. It was with these people in mind that the Mae Murray Foundation set out to change things with a plan to create ‘Inclusive Beaches’ in Northern Ireland.
Designed to allow people of all ages and abilities to take part, have fun and enjoy true inclusion in a beach environment, the charity framework ensures all beachgoers are truly welcome by providing access, parking and disabled toilets complete with hoisting and adult-sized changing bench facilities.
Since the Mae Murray Foundation’s first ‘Inclusive Beach’ was launched in 2017, the project has expanded to include five beaches, with its ‘Inclusive Beach’ at Portstewart Strand in partnership the National Trust launching in 2022, part-funded by Sport Norther Ireland.
The Portstewart project runs a free beach mobility equipment loan scheme, offering equipment including beach wheelchairs and beach walking frames to allow wheelchair users to enjoy the sand or a swim in the sea. Earlier this year, the Mae Murray Foundation produced an inclusive beach guide, ‘ADAPT my beach’ to share its learnings with others across the UK, Ireland and beyond.
The Mae Murray Foundation team also runs a range of accessible water sport activity sessions throughout the year and hosts regular events from beach fun days and surf days to litter picking events, open to people of all ages and abilities.
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