Cranfield Beach, outside Kilkeel, was launched during 2019 as the area’s first fully ‘Inclusive Beach’ thanks to work carried out by charity Mae Murray Foundation in partnership with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, and funding from Sport NI.
The Partnership Scheme saw the introduction and provision of equipment such as beach wheelchairs, floating chairs, beach walkers, changing bench and hoisting equipment for families and individuals who may have a range of differing abilities or need.
Equipment is available to borrow free of charge, and operates strictly on an advance booking basis, to avoid disappointment.
This year it is essential, for those wishing to borrow equipment, to complete a short online safety briefing ahead of making bookings. The briefing will explain how the scheme works and what steps are being taken to reduce the risk of spread of
Founder of the Mae Murray Foundation, Alix Crawford said: “Bookings can now be made for July and August and the key message this year is – please plan ahead. Simply go to our website and read the six-step booking process. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
“We are delighted to have partnered with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to introduce these facilities at Cranfield Beach and hope to see many people of all ages and abilities benefit.”
Alix continued: “There are many people, young and old, who have never felt sand running through their fingers or experienced the thrill of being in the sea, due to the inaccessibility of beaches. This initiative has brought together specialist mobility equipment along with personal care equipment that many people need. The scheme is also extended to organisations and groups – a great way to have a fun day out!”
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said: “I am delighted to hear of the experiences this fantastic project has produced since its launch. The Beach Equipment loan facilities at Cranfield Beach help provide true participation for all in leisure and social settings, regardless of age or ability. We are delighted to be working closely with Alix and the Mae Murray Foundation on this initiative.”
For further information regarding the specialist beach equipment at Cranfield and the booking process please visit: www.maemurrayfoundation.org/projects/inclusive-beaches/