Launch of beach wheelchairs in Ingoldmells

Launch of  Beach Ability  beach wheel chairs at Ingoldmells. Jolly Fisherman sits in the beach wheel chair with (from left)  Sue Wright, Tess Price, Kev Wright, John Orgine - Ingoldmells parish councillor, Glen Price, and Danny Brookes - Mayor of Skegness. Photo: MSKP-140418-11 ANL-180416-121705001
Launch of Beach Ability beach wheel chairs at Ingoldmells. Jolly Fisherman sits in the beach wheel chair with (from left) Sue Wright, Tess Price, Kev Wright, John Orgine - Ingoldmells parish councillor, Glen Price, and Danny Brookes - Mayor of Skegness. Photo: MSKP-140418-11 ANL-180416-121705001

A community in Ingoldmells has come together so disabled people visiting the resort can once again feel the sand in their toes.

Beach Ability Ingoldmells was launched on Saturday on the promenade now owned by Skegness hotelier Russ Sparkes.

More than 100 members of the Ingoldmells and Chapel Facebook Group turned out to see the first of three beach wheelchairs they have bought through crowdfunding, raising £13,500.

The other two are currently being adapted with headrests for children with cerebral palsy.

Fantasy Island also went along with a wheelchair they have donated to the scheme.

Teresa Price, who started the Facebook group six years ago to offer advice and support to people with caravans in the area, said the idea arose because members wanted to do something for the community.

“The group has 68,000 members and over the years we have raised £21,000 for various charities and we decided we wanted to do something for the community.

“We came up with the idea of beach wheelchairs because a lot of our members are disabled and the only way they can get on the beach at the moment is if they are carried.

“They can’t go for a little dip in the sea and this project will change all that.”

In addition to crowdfunding, there have been a number of fundraisers and £100 was donated by Ingoldmells Parish Council.

Fundraising is continuing through the sale of a members’ loyalty discount card and it is hoped to expand the scheme to Chapel St Leonards.

Teresa said: “The loyalty cards are already at Ginghams Restaurant in Chapel St Leonards so we have made a start.”

The storage unit that will house the chairs was donated by Russ Sparkes. He said: “I am delighted to support this group. Many people who come to this area and disabled and now they will have access to the beach.”

Paige Harris, head of marketing at Fantasy Island, said: “As we announced back in March, Fantasy Island is now a proud partner of the ICF Charity. Our aim is to help disabled visitors to the Lincolnshire East Coast enjoy our beautiful beaches, by using our platform to help raise awareness and money to provide specialised beach wheelchairs.

“Onsite we have a wishing-well fountain that we encourage customers and fans alike to throw any spare change into. The money raised from this fountain in 2017 has been donated to the ICF Charity and has bought one wheelchair to date.

“We’d like to thank everyone that has donated to this fantastic cause.”

The ribbon to the storage unit was cut by disabled group member Dolly Williams. She said: “Having these chairs will mean everything to disabled people who have found it difficult to access the beach in the past. They are free to hire and we are looking forward to seeing them in use.”

Coun John Orgine was there representing Ingoldmells Parish Council. He said: “The council appreciates everything the group has done to put this together. Giving the disabled access will encourage more people on to the beach.”

Skegness Mayor Coun Danny Brookes, who launched a similar scheme in Skegness with Cycling Without Age, said: “As Mayor of the seaside resort I like to support events along the coast and this is a magnificent project.”

To book a chair, visit http://beach-ability.co.uk/