– Ryde Town Council’s mission for beach accessibility

Ryde Town Council are delighted to announce a new partnership with Unlimited Island and Ryde Beach Lifeguards designed to make Ryde beach accessible to everybody. Together we will seek grants and sponsorship to provide accessible equipment on Ryde Beach.

We are also working closely with Unlimited Island to raise awareness of our beach accessibility project and to highlight the opening of the JustGiving appeal.

Ryde is the largest town on the Isle of Wight with 5 miles of sandy beaches but a lack of accessibility means that many residents and visitors are excluded from enjoying it if they require wheelchairs, mobility scooters or require walkers.

In consultation with local accessibility champions Isle Access, Unlimited Island and the IoW Council, our ambition is to install non-slip matting that can be used to create an access route on the sand for pedestrians, families with pushchairs and people with limited mobility or in wheelchairs. In addition to this, we wish to offer raised sunbeds and most importantly, beach and water wheelchairs.

In addition to the beach accessibility equipment, we are investigating the possibility of a Changing Place modular unit placed next to existing public conveniences and near to the new access matting. This would allow wheelchair users to change and transfer into a beach/water wheelchair with dignity and have the peace of mind that a suitable toilet option is within reach.

Ryde Town Council have allocated an initial £10,000 grant and this has been matched by a further contribution of £10,000 from the Isle of Wight Council but further funding is needed to advance the project and we aim to explore all options available. The ambition to obtain further funding will be supported and driven by Unlimited Island, Ryde Town Council and Ryde Beach Lifeguards.

In addition to this Ryde Beach Lifeguards have been successful in their application for a beach accessible wheelchair for this season. This is a fantastic step forward for the project and a wonderful opportunity for individuals to enjoy Ryde Beach this summer. For more information and booking please contact Waterside Pool.

JustGiving https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/accessible-beach-ryde

Claire Walker of Unlimited Island said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of this project as the Island is in desperate need of beaches which can be enjoyed by everybody, residents and tourists alike.  I’d like to thank Ryde Town Council and the Beach Lifeguards for their support with this project and look forward to seeing the end outcome – perhaps expanding the project to other beaches around the Island going forward.”

Lisa Dyer, Town Clerk said:

‘We strongly believe that nobody should feel excluded due to lack of access to facilities. Therefore, we want to make one of the most popular stretches of the beach accessible to wheelchair users, and people who may have additional mobility requirements, so they too can enjoy beach days and a swim with their friends and family.’

The Impact

A 2012 report by IoW Council shows that there are approx. 6400-7000 people living on the island with some form of disability.

This project aims to give people with mobility needs access to Ryde Beach to enjoy a stroll, a day with family or even a swim. Funds will be used to purchase a Changing Place facility, access matting, beach and water wheelchairs, raised sunbeds and storage for all the new equipment.

Based on the results of a recent survey (September 2022) sent to a number of island Homes and Services for adults with physical and/or learning disabilities, 94% of respondents confirmed that they would use the beach more if a matting was installed on the sand, 76% would go in the sea if they could use a sea wheelchair and 73% would use a beach wheelchair. 

The aim of the project is to improve access for all, and the matting on the sand would also benefit families with young children in pushchairs etc.

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