‘Life’s a beach’ campaign provides beach access for all
Bridge & Lindsey is supplying MobiMat flexible access matting and MobiChair beach wheelchairs to the blue-flag beach at Sandbanks, Poole.
According to the company, initial discussions took place with the beach team at Sandbanks in Autumn 2015 when it was clear that a solution was needed to improve wheelchair user access onto the beach. MobiMat is a flexible PU woven system that is durable, UV / IR and saltwater resistant, meeting the needs of Sandbanks. They also had a need for some new beach wheelchairs and opted for the MobiChair as it allows access directly into the water and can even float; allowing users to fully appreciate the beach experience.
Group Manager, James Rhodes told us: “The beach needed quite a long run of matting, totalling 100m, to allow users to access the waters edge easily. It was also decided that three MobiChairs would be required, making the project a sizeable investment for the local authority.”
To assist with funding, Poole contacted the Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ campaign, offering the chance to receive up to £12,000 in funding for local projects from money raised by the 5p carrier bag charge. Poole put together the ‘Life’s a Beach’ proposal, which was eventually shortlisted as one of three local campaigns to be voted on in-store by the public. Voting took place at the end of February and ‘Life’s a Beach’ came in second place, winning £10,000 funding for the project.
James says that delivery and installation took place on July the 25th and immediately the MobiMat was in use by beach visitors: “Straight away it was clear that it would be a natural route on to the sand for many visitors to the beach, but especially the elderly and infirm. One lady was straight down to the water with her tri-walker.”
At the official opening, the Poole beaches team were joined by the Poole Mayor Cllr Xena Dion, Poole council colleagues, representatives from Tesco and James Rhodes and Mike Carlile from Bridge & Lindsey. Poole Hospital based charity Gully’s Place also came along to try out the new equipment and were the first to try a new MobiChair on the beach, going down to the water with ease.
Peak season is now in full swing at Sandbanks and over the course of the next few weeks the MobiMat and MobiChairs will be seen and used by many hundreds of visitors.
Bridge & Lindsey became the UK distributors for MobiMat and MobiChair in 2015 and are very pleased with the early response to the products.
James says: “When manufacturer Deschamps approached us, it was in part due to our location along the South Coast and its lovely beaches. Our Bournemouth branch was in the perfect position to facilitate the Poole order and the staff are delighted to have the MobiMat and MobiChairs in use on an award winning beach so close to the shop.”
Manufactured in France and used all over the world, MobiMat has many applications from light duty foot and light vehicle use, through to the heavy duty AFX mats, used by the military and heavy industry.