Bamburgh beach wheelchair scheme all set to be up and running for summer
A beach wheelchair scheme could be up and running in north Northumberland by this summer.
Beach Access North East (BANE) has secured £3,500 funding from Karbon Homes to buy a Hippocampe all-terrain children’s beach wheelchair for use at Bamburgh.
The charity has been working on the scheme alongside Bamburgh Parish Council which has been keen to provide access for all to the famous beach.
"It’s very exciting,” said chairman, Cllr Barbara Brook.
The parish council is now pursuing other funding opportunities in the hope of buying an adult beach wheelchair, potentially another child’s chair and a hoist.
Cllr Kirsty Dobson said: “We want the scheme to be up and running for when people are starting to come back to Bamburgh at the beginning of summer.”
A pre-application has been submitted to Northumberland County Council ahead of a formal planning application for a 4m x 4m wooden shed to keep the equipment in.
“I think it’s going to be quite nice to look at so we’re not anticipating many problems with that and are hoping it’s going to go through okay,” said Cllr Dobson.
Parish councillors will keep the beach wheelchairs until the shed is built.
It is planned to advertise for volunteers next month and then set up a rota.
“We don’t know how popular it’s going to be but I would have thought we’re going to need five or six volunteers to start with,” said Cllr Dobson.
“It’ll be a lovely and rewarding job meeting the families and showing them the route down to the beach and then meeting them again afterwards to take the wheelchair back.”
A site visit was carried out before Christmas to assess the best possible route through the dunes. The access path near the Pavilion was favoured ahead of The Wynding car park and The Links car park.
Beach Access North East has been providing beach wheelchairs in Newbiggin, Blyth and Whitley Bay since 2017.
It also now has a facility at South Shields and is hoping to expand to Tynemouth, Sunderland and Hartlepool.
Bamburgh will be its first foray into north Northumberland, although it has also expressed interested in introducing the scheme in Beadnell.