A scheme designed to improve inclusion on the beaches of North Berwick, East of Edinburgh, has been granted £10,000 by Big Lottery Fund Scotland to allow the purchase of specially, beach-adapted wheelchairs.

Their Investing In Ideas project has awarded the North Berwick Community Centre the funding, meaning that would-be beach goers can loan out the wheelchairs from a beachfront hut – it is hoped that this could be rolled out across the country if the pilot scheme is a success.

The idea was the brainchild of Alison Brown – who's son has a disability - and Jackie Tagg. Talking to the Big Lottery Fund’s Big Blog, Alison said: “I’m really looking forward to using the child’s beach wheelchair with my son so that he can meet his friends at the beach, something that we rarely did before.”

Jackie added: “This scheme will help to change that and our ultimate aim would be to replicate it in other parts of the country so more people can enjoy more of Scotland’s beautiful beaches.”

Maureen McGinn, chair of Big Lottery Fund Scotland, also speaking to their blog, said: “Today’s funding will help this seaside town turn an ambitious idea into a ground-breaking project; one which has the potential to change lives locally and across the country. This will be Scotland’s first mainland beach wheelchair loan scheme that will help people to focus on their abilities, rather than their disability.”

One small step for disabled beachgoers, one giant leap for social inclusion?

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