As the new trout fishing season got underway, Draycote Reservoir in Warwickshire and Linlithgow Loch in West Lothian each took delivery of a Coulam 16 Wheelyboat.
Sean Hanlon of Draycote Fly-Fishers sprays the bubbly to celebrate the Wheelyboat’s launch.
An established trout fishery for many years, Draycote Reservoir is a 600-acre lowland reservoir near Rugby famous for its buzzer hatches and large grown-on brown and rainbow trout. It’s new Wheelyboat was launched following a successful fundraising campaign led by a member of Draycote Fly-Fishers Association.
There has been a Mk I Wheelyboat operating on Linlithgow Loch since 1995 but it is now showing signs of its age and needed to be replaced. The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is a substantial improvement on its design and is a genuinely dual-purpose craft – anyone can use it, mobility impaired or not. Linlithgow Loch is run by the Forth Area Federation of Anglers. Its secretary, Andy McAlpine, said “I would like to thank all the funders for donating to such a worthwhile cause that will enable disabled anglers to enjoy a pleasure the rest of us take for granted. The old Wheelyboat was donated by the Bank of Scotland 21 years ago and if we get the same use from the new Wheelyboat we will be well satisfied. The old Wheelyboat will be given to another organisation with a small loch”. Linlithgow’s Wheelyboat was supplied with a Suzuki DF8AEL. It’s the perfect outboard for the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat and it’s push button start makes it very easy for disabled anglers to use.
For more information visit www.flyfishdraycote.co.uk or www.fafa-linlithgowloch.org.uk.
Linlithgow Palace makes a stunning backdrop to the fishing on the loch.
Eighty students and young adults severely challenged by their autism will benefit from a brand new accessible boat helping them learn new skills and enjoy being active outdoors on an RYA Sailability programme at Burghfield Sailing Club near Reading. The new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 was launched on 25 October as a joint initiative between Prior’s Court, a Berkshire based charity supporting and improving life chances for people with autism, and Burghfield Sailability.
Prior’s Court students have been participating in the Sailability programme at Burghfield Sailing Club for the past 10 years, however with only one accessible boat available to share between several organisations this meant that only eight of their students were able to take part in sailing and boating. The new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 accommodates up to ten adults, including six wheelchair users, and with its inherent stability makes it a fantastic asset to increase the boating opportunities for Prior’s Court students who have learning difficulties and other very complex needs.
Able to reach a top speed of 30mph with a 90hp Suzuki outboard, the V20 will provide new and more exciting sensory activities for young people with autism, benefitting their overall health and well-being. Enabling Prior’s Court students to enjoy boating on a weekly basis, the V20 will also allow the students to participate in the Sailability Achievement Scheme where they can work towards Certificates of Achievement as their knowledge and skills develop.
Cara Brandi, Head of Fundraising at Prior’s Court said, “The new Wheelyboat will have huge benefits for all of the children and young adults at Prior’s Court and will now enable those with even the most challenging needs to participate and benefit from Sailability on a regular basis, building confidence and new skills.”
The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 was purchased with donations raised by Prior’s Court in partnership with The Wheelyboat Trust and Burghfield Sailing Club who will operate the boat. When the new boat is not being used by Prior’s Court students, it will be available for the benefit of other groups who also participate in the Burghfield Sailability programme, making sure the wider local community can benefit from the new addition to the fleet.
David Martin, Chair of the Burghfield Sailability programme, said, “We are very excited about the new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 as it is the first wheelchair accessible power boat in our fleet. We work with up to 50 clients plus their carers each week and this new addition means we can increase our capacity for Prior’s Court and others as well as offer the entirely new experience of powerboating for wheelchair users and others who find boarding from floating pontoons difficult.”
On 20 October two Derbyshire women with six children between them, three of whom have disabilities, and an unrelenting drive to make the most of life celebrated as their dream of a wheelchair accessible boat on Ladybower Reservoir came true. As a result of a joint project between Accessible Derbyshire, a charity set up by Gillian Scotford and Jane Carver with the aim to improve the lives of disabled people in Derbyshire, and Ladybower Fisheries, a new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat was launched making the reservoir accessible for all.
The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is a popular reservoir fishing boat designed by The Wheelyboat Trust. The national charity supported Accessible Derbyshire and Ladybower Fisheries by raising 50% of the craft’s cost (£10,500 including outboard). The unique design features of the boat are not immediately obvious. Wheelchair users board the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat via a ramp from bank or pontoon onto a hydraulic platform that lowers to deck level. Removable handrails around the platform help keep the angler safe while boarding and disembarking and means only one able-bodied helper is required to assist.
Gillian Scotford said, “We are just approaching the end of our two-year challenge to make the Peak District National Park the most accessible national park in the UK and the Wheelyboat launch is very special to us. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the great outdoors and one of the first things we dreamed about was to buy a Wheelyboat for Ladybower as it is such a beautiful place. To have achieved this dream is absolutely fantastic and we are so excited to launch the boat.”
Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, said, “We are so delighted to see this Wheelyboat launched at the Ladybower Reservoir because we know how much Accessible Derbyshire and Ladybower Fisheries wanted to make this happen for their disabled anglers. Our grateful thanks also extend to Lord Leverhulme’s Charitable Trust for their grant towards the Wheelyboat.”
On 3 October a brand new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 was launched by the Woolverstone Project in Suffolk to become the first wheelchair-accessible craft in the charity’s large fleet of adapted boats. The V20, designed and partly funded by The Wheelyboat Trust, accommodates up to six wheelchairs and even enables wheelchair users to drive the boat themselves, making it a fantastic new asset for the project that focuses on providing sailing opportunities and tuition to those with disabilities.
With the required funds raised in just one year, it is clear that the Wheelyboat, which is able to reach a top speed of 30mph with a 90hp Suzuki outboard, will be in great demand. Apart from pleasure trips, as an RYA Recognised Training Centre the Woolverstone Project will be able for the first time to offer disabled people the opportunity to attain qualifications such as Powerboat level 1 and 2 certificates and Powerboat Instructor.
The plans however do not stop there. Being the only Wheelyboat in Suffolk, the craft will be used to benefit a much wider range of community groups across Suffolk, Essex and South Norfolk. Providing as many disabled people as possible with the opportunity and freedom to participate in waterborne activities is the main aim of both The Wheelyboat Trust and the Woolverstone Project.
The unique design of the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 with flexible seating, level deck and, most importantly, a watertight bow door that lowers to form a ramp means easy access not only for wheelchair users but anyone with impaired mobility, young and old.
The Patron of the Woolverstone Project, broadcaster Paul Heiney said, “I have been lucky enough to sail for most of my life and so I know the deep sense of freedom that comes from being on the water and the satisfaction it gives. That’s why I support the Woolverstone Project because I believe that kind of experience should be for everyone to enjoy irrespective of the hurdles that might be in the way.”
Already recognised in 2003 by the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for their services to the community through the voluntary work in providing sailing facilities to people with all forms of disabilities, the Woolverstone Project is set to grow even further. They currently run over 260 sailing sessions each year and the new addition to their fleet is expected to push this number significantly higher.
John Wilkinson, Chair of Trustees of the Woolverstone Project, said, “The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 was simply the perfect choice for us. The boat offers exactly what we were missing in our fleet and we can now provide new opportunities for people with disabilities to experience the freedom and joy of being out on the water.”
On 20 August, a Coulam Wheelyboat V20 officially joined the fleet of trip boats, including two Mk III Wheelyboats launched in 2012, at Randers Naturcenter in Denmark. Randers is a town in Jutland on the River Gudenå. The NaturCenter is owned and run by the Municipality and is an educational and recreational resource for the town. It is surrounded by hundreds of acres of wetland, formerly farmland that has recently been returned to its natural state. The V20 will operate on the river at the Naturcenter and downstream in the tidal fjord and out into the estuary where its 100hp outboard will offer more adventurous and exhilarating boating activity. The V20 was funded by the Aage V Jensens Naturfond, a conservation charity. The boat’s name ‘Lappedykkeren’ is Danish for The Grebe. Click to see video
Sailing 4 Disabled Rowing Pirates is a very busy group that organises accessible rowing and boating on the Hereford & Gloucester canal at Over Basin, Gloucester. They have been trialling a Mk III Wheelyboat for some time and on 7 July they launched their own with Gloucester’s Mayor, Cllr Neil Hampson, officiating. The Wheelyboat is powered by a 2kw Torqeedo outboard and its drive-from-wheelchair console ensures that people with the severest disabilities can experience driving the boat themselves. The Wheelyboat was supplied with the help of grants from the CLA Charitable Trust, CHK Charities Ltd and Pete Bisson.
Two V20 Wheelyboats launched on 4 June are going to play a key role in putting Connah’s Quay on the River Dee Estuary at the top of the list of must see places in North Wales. What was once a prosperous port and boat building hub is due to be revived, as The Quay Watermen’s Association carries out an ambitious restoration plan. Honouring the area’s rich maritime heritage, the boats have been named ‘Kathleen’ and ‘May’ after the famous three-masted topsail schooner of that name which was built in Connah’s Quay. Guest of honour, cracking the champagne over the boats was Carl Sargeant, Welsh Assembly Member for Alyn and Deeside.
The keen members of the Quay Watermen’s Association want to share their passion for boats and the river and endeavour to provide local people of all ages and abilities with access to the tidal River Dee – something that has not been available for many years. The Association secured a £192,000 grant from the Big Lottery’s Coastal Communities Fund in July 2015 and has already used part of the sum to fund the refurbishment of a disused sea cadets’ building into a new community centre.
But the vision is even greater, and this year almost £70,000 of the grant was dedicated to acquire the two new Wheelyboats. The specially designed boats, which offer safe and easy access for the disabled, young and old, were the Association’s first choice. Reaching speeds of over 30mph, the Wheelyboats will be used on trips for schools, photography groups, birdwatchers and any other interested individuals or groups.
The Quay Watermen’s Association hopes to keep alive the history of the area and envisages a permanent heritage exhibition in its new Kathleen and May Community Centre. While plans for the future exhibition are not yet finalised, a live commentary pointing out the various sites of interest along the river is already in place for the first passengers on the new Wheelyboats. The Association will offer 20 minute ‘taster’ trips, 90 minute longer trips upstream to Chester Weir and individually tailored charters.
Later in the year the operation will include trips downstream into the estuary where passengers can experience the tranquillity of an internationally important bird reserve and relive ancient battles as they cruise past Flint castle. Among the many benefits the project will bring to the region, three jobs have been created already, and the growth in visitor numbers is expected to be a welcome boost to the wider local economy. Click to see video 1, Click to see video 2
Airdrie & District Angling Club have taken delivery of a new Mk III Wheelyboat for trout fishing on Hillend Reservoir. The Mk III replaces the Mk II Wheelyboat in operation since 2003 which will be refurbished and found a new home. The club is thriving thanks to its policy of any fishing method from the bank and fly fishing only from boats. The reservoir is regularly stocked with trout and there is a good head of pike too.
On 6th November, Creggan Country Park in Derry City, Northern Ireland, formally launched their 20’ Mk II Wheelyboat. Karen Healy, Environmental Officer at Creggan Country Park said: ‘I am delighted that we are now able to open up our lake to all abilities. There are other Wheelyboats in Northern Ireland but this is the first for the North West and it will bring so many benefits to people in the city who have never taken part in water based activities before. We will also use the Wheelyboat as part of our environmental education programme ‘Nature's Classroom' so that groups can take part in bird watching, pond dipping, wildlife art and nature treasure hunts. It will show everyone that being out on the water is a really special experience and will enhance learning’.
Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, said: ‘Being a wheelchair user myself, I understand how important it is for disabled people to take part in activities alongside and on equal terms with everybody else. Wheelyboats overcome the problems of access to waterborne activities and give disabled people like me freedom and independence on the water. Wheelyboats are a brilliant resource and we are so pleased to have been able to help Creggan Country Park acquire one. Enormous thanks to the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust who provided the funding. Good luck to all who sail in her - much fun and adventure lies ahead’.
Eamon Doherty and Annette McCallion from St Joseph's Boys School, were the first people to set foot on the boat. Annette said: ‘It was a bit chilly today but we really enjoyed it, Eamon loved the experience’.
The Wheelyboat is available for individuals, families, groups and schools. To book contact Creggan Country Park on 028 71363 133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More details available at www.creggancountrypark.com.
The launch of Mylor Sailability’s brand new wheelchair accessible boat, the Coulam Wheelyboat V20, took place at Mylor Sailing School on the River Fal estuary in Cornwall on Saturday 3 October. Reaching speeds of over 30mph the specially designed Wheelyboat was launched and formally named ‘Odyssey’ by guest of honour Peter Norfolk MBE, twice gold-winning Paralympian tennis player and GB flagbearer at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Sailing and boating are activities that most disabled people can participate in effectively given the right access, facilities and opportunities. Tracey Boyne, owner of Mylor Sailing School, recognised a significant lack of disabled access on local waters in Cornwall and 15 months ago Mylor Sailability was established to provide outdoor waterborne activities for people with impaired mobility and special educational needs.
Winners of the Sport England Sportivate Best New Project, a national award, the charity has been successful in securing a Sport England Inspired Facilities grant of £48k for a new building, pontoon and hoist, as well as a grant in conjunction with Age UK to encourage people with disabilities over the age of 50 into sailing. The charity now helps hundreds of people from all over Cornwall with a wide range of disabilities take part in sailing.
Launch conditions were perfect, a warm sunny day with light winds. About 50 people attended including BBC Points West who filmed the launch for their evening news. In the morning Tracey Boyne from Mylor Sailability and Andy Beadsley were interviewed on BBC Radio Cornwall’s breakfast programme. Some brilliant publicity for the project thanks to Firebird PR who do an excellent job helping The Wheelyboat Trust with PR, media and publicity. The Points West video can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/mylorsailingschool/.
Since the launch Odyssey has been used in six Sailability sessions (accommodating about 25 people) every week. For more severely disabled members, Odyssey has transformed their ability to participate in watersports and other activities on the water. Their options were quite limited before and some were unable to get on the water at all. As a result, Mylor Sailability’s membership of wheelchair users and others with significant mobility and learning difficulties will increase in number as Tracey and her fellow instructors will be able to accommodate a much broader spectrum of disabilities in the group’s activities. All existing members, irrespective of their disability, have more choice and more opportunities on the water in Odyssey.
Andy Beadsley said: “One of the aims of The Wheelyboat Trust is to have as many Wheelyboats throughout the UK as possible, so that no-one with impaired mobility should feel excluded from getting out on the water. We are therefore delighted to launch a Coulam Wheelyboat V20 in Cornwall and hope that it encourages more disabled people to experience the fun and thrill of powerboating.”
Tracey Boyne added: “Mylor Sailability is the only coastal Sailability centre in Cornwall and our new Wheelyboat will give our service users even more opportunities to experience the water and learn new skills. We are very grateful to The Wheelyboat Trust for their help in funding the acquisition of this fantastic boat.”
We are extremely grateful to the following donors for providing the funds for this Wheelyboat project:
Claire Milne Trust
Cornwell Charitable Trust
Douglas Arter Foundation
Elmgrant Charitable Trust
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales Duke of Cornwall
Leonard Laity Stoate Charitable Trust
Norman Family Charitable Trust
St Austell Brewery Charitable Trust
Sterry Family Fund
Whirlwind Charitable Trust
Frampton on Severn Sailing Club Sailability have taken delivery of a brand new Mk III Wheelyboat which they formally launched on 25 July. The funds were raised by the club and included a grant of £6,000 from Sport England. The Wheelyboat will enable the club to offer boating activities to all their members regardless of disability. For more information about the club and their new Wheelyboat telephone David Greenfield on 01452 740126. Click here to read a full report of the launch reproduced with the kind permission of Stroud Life.
Mk III Wheelyboat ‘The Maughan Lass’ was launched with great ceremony and in beautiful sunshine on 27 June at Overwater Marina near Audlem, Cheshire. Rodney Cottrell, Chairman of the project, thanked everybody who had contributed whether financially or in kind. Key grants for the £20,000 project came from Ableworld, Cheshire East Council, Comic Relief, Cheshire Community Foundation, Awards for All and the Alchemy Foundation. Overwater Marina has built an access ramp to the Wheelyboat and provides a secure berth free of charge. After the naming ceremony by Angus Maughan the 120 guests were entertained by the Cheshire Constabulary Corp of Drums and The Maughan Lass had her inaugural trip.
The Maughan Lass is a free service to people with mobility difficulties and operates scheduled trips on Tuesdays and Thursdays with other bookings available by arrangement including fishing trips. To book phone Rodney Cottrell on 01270 811454 or visit www.overwaterwheelyboat.co.uk. The service is proving extremely popular and more than 40 local care homes have signed up to take part.
A refurbished Mk II Wheelyboat was delivered to Creggan Country Park, Co Londonderry on 28 June and will be used for fishing and pleasure boating. The project was aided with a grant from the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust. Formal launch will be taking place soon – watch this space for a report and pics!
Guest of honour, Judith Hann from BBC’s Tomorrow’s World, launched Lechlade Trout Fishery’s Mk II Wheelyboat on 9 June. Lechlade is the UK’s leading big-fish water with 100 20lb + brown trout and 500 20lb + rainbow trout being caught there ever year along with the thousands of fish averaging 10lb. The Wheelyboat will enable anglers of all ages with impaired mobility the opportunity of catching these specimen fish.
Lechlade is partnered with Bushyleaze Trout Fishery where a Wheelyboat has operated for the last ten years and is very popular with anglers. Last year Bushyleaze won the Alan Faulkner Memorial Award sponsored by Suzuki GB in recognition of the service and access it provides disabled anglers.
Tim Small owns both fisheries and was delighted to have won the award. He said “providing suitable access that enables everybody to fish is an important feature of Bushyleaze and I am thrilled we can now offer the same service and facilities at Lechlade. This is the first Wheelyboat to operate on a big-fish water! It not only will help disabled anglers but elderly and less mobile anglers who find it hard work walking the bank or using the rowing boats.”
Lechlade’s Wheelyboat was originally one of two that were supplied to a fishery in Wales. When it became spare it was thoroughly overhauled and given at least another ten years of useful life at a fraction of the cost of building a new Wheelyboat. A grant from the Environment Agency from Rod Licence funding helped with the costs of refurbishment, the balance being met by Tim Small. The project was also supported by NatWest with competitive funding enabling construction of the bankside structures facilitating easy access on and off the Wheelyboat.
To book the Wheelyboats at Lechlade and Bushyleaze call 01367 253266.
Co Donegal’s first C16Wbt was delivered in February for disabled anglers to use on Creeslough AC’s Lough Na Toohey. The project was funded by a grant from Inland Fisheries Ireland.
Disabled anglers in Co Waterford now have a third angling club operating an accessible Wheelyboat. St Paul’s FC has lough fishing as well a stretch on the River Suir. For Wheelyboat bookings contact Der Casey on 00 353 86 0568430.
Sailing’s Olympic Double Gold Medallist, Dundee-born Shirley Robertson, caused a splash at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park’s Castle Semple Centre on Saturday 16 May 2015 when she launched the ‘Discovery’ Scotland’s first “Wheelyboat V20” for disabled sailors.
The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 is specially designed for a wide range of activities on inshore and inland waters and is The Wheelyboat Trust’s most versatile Wheelyboat to date. The V20 will provide wheelchair users and those with mobility impairments freedom to access the stunning facilities of one of Scotland’s premier sail training lochs.
Shirley Robertson says she’s passionate to create opportunities for everyone to get on the water. “This launch is about so much more than just a boat for wheelchair users. With this wonderful initiative - to add to the accessible sailing dinghies already here – this brilliant new Wheelyboat will be providing lots of ‘Discovery’ experiences for all those with additional support needs who will now be able to access the water in greater numbers.”
The project has been a joint venture between Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park (CMRP), The Gryfe Valley Rotary and The Wheelyboat Trust who raised the money to buy the vessel.
Angus Matheson, President, Gryffe Valley Rotary said ”This has been the largest project Gryffe Valley Rotary have undertaken to date, we’d like to thank all the Rotarians and sponsors that have worked hard to raise the funds. We are delighted to present it to Clyde Muirshiel Park Authority, the staff at Castle Semple do an outstanding job, making outdoor activities accessible to all and I know they already have lots of groups lined up to use it. It has been fantastic to have Shirley Ann Robertson OBE here to official launch this stunning boat, those that took to the water certainly had an exhilarating time.”
Since the devastating floods of 2014 considerable measures have been implemented in case of any future flooding emergencies. Somerset County Council have launched a specially adapted Mark III Wheelyboat which will be kept on standby, at all other times it will be run and maintained by a community group at the Maunsel Lock Canal Centre near North Newton where it will be used to provide access to the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal for groups of disabled people and those with limited mobility.
The community MK III Wheelyboat, complete with engine and trailer, has been funded by Somerset County Council with support from South Somerset District Council, and purchased through the Wheelyboat Trust. Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Inward Investment and Policy, said: “I’m delighted we have been able to purchase this boat which we’ll be able to mobilise almost instantly in an emergency “Hopefully, this will not be necessary, particularly thanks to the various flood prevention schemes we’ve carried out at places like Muchelney and Thorney. Our work through the Flood Action Plan is ongoing, and I’m sure many of our isolated communities will be reassured that we have a boat in reserve should we ever need one.
“At other times, this boat will provide a wonderful resource for charities, schools and other groups and is particularly suited for providing boat trips for disabled people. This means it also helps to attract visitors and will provide an economic benefit to Somerset.”
South Shields Sea Cadets’ brand new Mk IV Wheelyboat was launched on the River Tyne at TS Collingwood on 26th September. Attending were top brass from the Sea Cadets, local MP Emma Lewell-Buck and members of the Tees Wheelyboats Club from Stockton. The Sea Cadets’ band provided musical entertainment before and after the formalities of the launch which included a blessing by the Cadets’ Padre, Rev Paul Kennedy. Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, was the first disabled person on board after the launch and was taken for a spin during which he took the controls at the drive-from-wheelchair helm.
The Mk IV is powered by two 60hp outboards providing a top speed of over 30mph. The Wheelyboat is a fully capable inshore powerboat and will provide the cadet unit with some high-octane experience and training. Their HQ, TS Collingwood, has recently undergone some extensive refurbishment and is now fully wheelchair accessible, including the dormitory, loos and showers.
The Wheelyboat project cost in excess of £56,000 and the Trust is immensely grateful to the following donors for their generous support: Sir James Knott Trust, Ballinger Charitable Trust, Port of Tyne Charitable Foundation, Joicey Trust, Odin Charitable Trust, Emerton Christie Charity, Schroder Charity Ltd, Rothley Trust, Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, RS Brownless Charitable Trust, Carr-Ellison Charitable Trust.
click here to see the double-page feature of the launch in the Sheilds Gazette.
Won this year by Bushyleaze Trout Fishery, Gloucestershire. For full report click here.
On Tuesday 15 July over 150 guests attended a reception at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre to celebrate the 30th anniversary of national charity, The Wheelyboat Trust. The occasion also marked the launch of the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 – a brand new model and the most versatile developed to date. It is the 160th Wheelyboat to be launched by the Trust, and being based at Bisham Abbey Sailing & Navigation School, it will be the first Wheelyboat to operate anywhere on the River Thames, as part of the Boatability project in collaboration with the Rivertime Boat Trust, which aims to increase disabled people’s active participation in watersports.
The Wheelyboat Trust is a national charity that provides disabled people with the opportunity and freedom to enjoy water-based activities all over the UK, for sport, wildlife watching, recreation or rehabilitation purposes. The specially designed Wheelyboats are simple to board via their roll-on, roll-off bow ramps and their level deck provides access to every corner of the boat including the helm, overcoming practical difficulties and providing disabled users with independence to make the entire water accessible.
In celebration of opening up disabled access on the waters of the Thames, a fleet of Wheelyboat models sailed past Bisham Abbey, with students from Manor Green School in Maidenhead on board, demonstrating the opportunities that Wheelyboats bring to those with disabilities or limited mobility. Hosted by the charity’s president the Duke of Roxburghe, the event featured an inspirational speech from Claire Lomas, a sportswoman, author and disability campaigner. Lomas famously walked the 2012 London Marathon in 17 days in a pioneering robotic suit following a life-changing eventing accident which left her paralysed.
Claire was delighted to be involved with the Wheelyboat Trust’s celebrations, saying “I am honoured to be involved in the launch of this new Wheelyboat on the River Thames. It is so important to encourage people with disabilities to get outside and enjoy outdoor pursuits and sport, and this is exactly what The Wheelyboat Trust is enabling every time they launch a boat on the water.”
Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust says, “This has been a fantastic day celebrating all that The Wheelyboat Trust has achieved in the last thirty years. We are already looking ahead to hitting our dream target of 200 Wheelyboats on waters throughout the UK and Europe. These Wheelyboats are so important for breaking down the barriers that people with disabilities face when looking to participate in waterborne pursuits. We hope that now we have launched on the Thames, many more operators will come forward to provide their facilities and venues for Wheelyboats on waterways across the country.”
The annual Duschenne Family Support Group day at Bewl Water in Kent hosted by the Mariners of Bewl took place on 5th July. A Mk III Wheelyboat was loaned by the Trust to MOB and Wheelyboat trips around Bewl’s 700 acres were much enjoyed by the children. Phillippa Farrant, DFSG’s Development Officer, said ‘I was at Bewl Water on Saturday where our families including my son were able to access and use your boat, it really made their day and we are so grateful.’ For more information about the group go to www.facebook.com/DuchenneFamilySupportGroup and www.dfsg.org.uk.
A Mk III Wheelyboat was launched on Loch Ken at Galloway Activity Centre on 15th April. Loch Ken is southern Scotland’s largest loch and is largely inaccessible to disabled people. However, Galloway Activity Centre’s new Mk III Wheelyboat will provide disabled people, their families, friends and carers with safe and independent access to the water.
Richard Herman, Director of Galloway Activity Centre explains more:
“I am delighted that we are now able to open up this stunning loch to all abilities. There are other Wheelyboats in the area, however this is the first one to be used for wildlife spotting and pleasure boating. My aim is to be able to share the wonder of the wildlife, including red kites, otters and lots of seasonal birdlife as widely as possible and being out on the water is a really special experience.”
With thousands of acres of navigable water directly accessible from the centre, the Wheelyboat will be used for pleasure boating, nature watching, coarse fishing, power boat training and instruction and as a support vessel for other activities. It will provide the centre’s disabled visitors with a level of independence and freedom unavailable in any other craft.
Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust said:
“Being a wheelchair user myself, I understand how important it is for disabled people to take part in activities alongside and on equal terms with everybody else. Wheelyboats overcome the problems of access to waterborne activities and give disabled people like me freedom and independence on the water.”
Established in 1988, Galloway Activity Centre organises adventurous land and water based activities, courses and holidays for groups, families and individuals. It has a variety of accommodation from loch-side cabins and traditional campsite to tipis and a Mongolian yurt. The centre is wheelchair accessible throughout and a number of groups and organisations, such as South West Scotland RnR, Barnardos Scotland and Dumfries & Galloway Befriending Project, visit regularly. It will make an ideal Wheelyboat venue—the facilities are excellent, there is an established disabled clientele and the management is wholeheartedly committed to the project.
The Wheelyboat was formally launched by Jennifer Tobin, Founder and CEO of South West Scotland RnR, a charity that provides adventurous holidays for injured service personnel.
Funds for the project have been raised by The Wheelyboat Trust and have been generously provided by:
Scotbelge Charitable Trust
Hugh Fraser Foundation
W A Cargill Fund
Barfil Charitable Trust
JTH Charitable Trust
RKT Harris Charitable Trust
A wheelchair accessible Coulam 16 Wheelyboat specially designed for disabled anglers was formally launched at the Lake of Menteith on Friday, 25th October by the Rt Hon Anne McGuire MP. The Wheelyboat is named ‘Christopher Robin’ in memory of the late Christopher Graves from Galloway whose legacy to the Trust funded the Wheelyboat. Mr Graves' bequest is also marked with a plaque in the boat inscribed ‘in order that nobody be deprived of the joy of fishing’.
The 700 acre Lake of Menteith is a SSSI and has a rich heritage and history. It is also one of Scotland's finest trout fisheries. Its new Wheelyboat joins a fleet of 30 fishing boats and an older Mk II Wheelyboat. The new Wheelyboat is proving very popular with disabled anglers. For bookings and enquiries contact fishery manager Quint Glen on 01877 385664 or go to www.menteith-fisheries.co.uk.
A brand new wheelchair accessible ‘Wheelyboat’, specially designed to provide disabled people with hassle-free and independent access to waterborne activities, was launched at Maunsel Lock Canal Centre on Thursday 15th August. The new Wheelyboat enables disabled adults and children to participate in boat trips along the beautiful Bridgwater and Taunton Canal.
The Wheelyboat has been supplied through Countryside Mobility South West, a scheme that is working to make the region a truly ‘accessible’ visitor destination by improving access to the countryside for people with limited mobility. The scheme has been supported with a grant from Natural England as part of its Access to Nature programme, funded from the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme. Additional funds were generously provided by Nineveh Charitable Trust, Awards for All, Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, Frognal Trust, Norman Family Charitable Trust, Good Neighbours Trust and Arundel & District Rotary Club.
Chris Whitcombe, Maunsel Lock Canal Centre owner said: ‘We are really pleased to now have the Wheelyboat based here at Maunsel Lock and are very much looking forward to enabling more people to access and enjoy the wonderful canal and the surrounding environment’.
Situated near North Newton, Bridgwater, Somerset, Maunsel Lock Canal Centre and Tea Shop is run by Chris & Val Whitcombe and along with their trip boat ‘Maunsel Lady’ family members of all ages can enjoy the tranquillity of canal life from the waters perspective.
A new Mk III Wheelyboat was launced at Fieldes Fun's Weir Active project on 11th July. The launch was presided over by guest of honour Kay Twitchen OBE, Chairman of Essex County Council. Feildes Fun's new Wheelyboat will be used for pleasure boating on the Rivers Lee and Stort. The Weir Active project, after which the Wheelyboat has been named, is located on a one acre island between the two rivers and provides disabled people from Essex and Hertfordshire with a community outreach and activity centre. It will offer a range of therapeutic activities to disabled people, their families and carers.
Accessible boating in the Wheelyboat is just one of a number of activities that will be available at Weir Active. A wheelchair accessible boardwalk at the river's edge with a decked area for fishing and birdwatching has recently been completed. A canoe deck, raised beds and a sensory garden area are being built. There will be facilities for art and photography. As a community outreach centre, individuals, groups, families, volunteers and carers will have a purpose-made building in which to meet and integrate. The entire facility will be wheelchair accessible with state of the art loos and showers, including adult lie-down changing.
The Wheelyboat is powered by a 1kw Torqeedo electric outboard and is the first to be fitted with a bimini cover (canvas roof) for protection from the worst of the elements. It was very hot and sunny for the launch and the bimini proved to be a very effective and welcome sun shade.
Feildes Fun and The Wheelyboat Trust are very grateful to the project's donors: Awards For All, AJH Ashby Will Trust, Essex Millennium Fund, Hertfordshire Community Foundation, Co-operative Membership Community Fund and FSJ Charities.
For more information on Weir Active and the Wheelyboat now operating there contact John Bridges on 01992 447321, email@example.com.