The award-winning beach at Coldingham Bay is available to everyone thanks to specially adapted wheelchairs designed to be pushed on sand.
Set up two years ago by local charity Sea The Change, the Coldingham Beach Wheelchair project caters for those who may otherwise struggle to access the beach.
The project has three all-terrain wheelchairs which give users the opportunity to get down to the beach, cross the sand and paddle at the water's edge.
The scheme has been very popular since the first wheelchair was bought in June 2019. Word quickly spread locally, leading to 21 hires up to the end of that year.
As most people who use the chairs are in high risk categories, the project came to a halt with the onset of the pandemic, but resumed in July 2020 with a dozen hires over the summer, and things have taken off again this year with nine hires to date and another five already booked ahead.
Project officer Sean Trevarthen said: “Everyone who has used one of our wheelchairs seems so full of joy and excitement to get down onto the sand and splash at the water’s edge – and it’s infectious, bringing happiness to the family members and carers who come along with them.
"Many of our users have either never been down to the seashore or have only memories of the beach from earlier in life, so there are huge benefits to their mental health and wellbeing benefits through being outdoors and enjoying the natural environment with loved ones.”
The chairs are available for hire, free of charge, and can be booked through the Sea The Change website at www.seathechange.org.uk/beach-wheelchairs
The charity is always recruiting like-minded volunteers. There’s no special requirements, just a willingness to give a little time to help others.
"We don’t ask our volunteers to do any of the physical support or pushing the chairs during hires, and full training in the features and safety of each wheelchair is given,” Sean added.
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Sean at [email protected] or 07913 398725, or get in touch via