Life’s a Beach
Tyneside-based charity Beach Access Northeast are on a mission: They want to make sure our local beaches are accessible to everyone.
I’ve always loved living near the beach, but I don’t think I truly appreciated it until lockdown one. It was my quiet sanctuary as the sun came up, it was the kids playground when we needed to escape homeschool. It was the site of our ‘holiday at home’ and provided the perfect spot for beach BBQ’s and picnics.
But I’ve realised recently that not only did I take the proximity of the beach for granted; I took for granted my ability to actually get on it. A few weeks ago I spotted some advertising for local charity Beach Access North East and it really got me thinking how our coast is not particularly well set up to make our beaches accessible to everyone. The sensation of sand between your toes or the sea spray splashing your face… they’re two of life’s simple pleasures; and one’s that Beach Access Northeast are determined to offer to people living with disabilities.
Their mission statement says it all:
B.A.N.E is a small charity on a BIG mission! A mission to create and sustain a service which will be used by more and more people in the future on the spectacular North East coast. A mission to bring together people from all walks of life and all abilities, in a truly spectacular location. A mission to support those in need, enhance lives, encourage exploration of the extraordinary and celebrate some of life’s greatest natural treasures: our beaches, the pull of the sea, nature and above all else – people!
The charity was only set up in 2017 but already provides free equipment to loan at various beaches in the Northeast, including Newbiggin, Blyth, Whitley Bay, Cullercoats, South Shields and Hartlepool. Particularly impressive when you consider the charity is wholly run by volunteers.
They are currently facing a big challenge, and there are a couple of ways you can help!
The charity have raised £5500 via crowdfunding to enable them to access support from the local council to buy two wheelchairs and a hoist for their site in Tynemouth. Sounds good doesn’t it? But here’s the kicker; unless they meet their crowdfunding target of £6764; they can’t access any of the funding. With only a month left to meet their target, the prospect of all that hard work going to waste is devastating. If you can help financially, every donation is hugely appreciated and you can do so by clicking here.
If you’re really up for a challenge, you could even take on a sponsored event for them and donate the money to ensure that our beautiful beaches are accessible to more people this summer. Get the kids involved, do something silly or impressive… or both! Sponsored dip in the sea perhaps? You can contact the charity and share your fundraising idea with them; they’d love to hear from you.
Finally; if you live near one of the beaches mentioned above, and have a couple of hours to spare; BANE are recruiting for volunteers to administer the wheelchairs to people who come to loan the. No pushing or lifting is required and full training will be given. You know you wanna!