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The Story Behind BeachAbility

The idea for BeachAbility came from our Founder, Sharon Gray, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in January 2012 and soon after became a wheelchair user.

Sharon Gray - BeachAbility Founder

"One of my greatest pleasures was walking my dog on the beach but I couldn't get onto the beach with my normal wheel chair. One day when sitting on the slip at St Ouens, I bumped into my ex-physiotherapist Suzie MacLagan [now the Secretary for BeachAbility], who told me that it had always been a dream of hers to be able to offer access for disabled people onto the beach and so the idea developed."

The funds for the first chair were raised by Sharon’s friends, family and the Ladies of Les Mielles Golf Club, who held a charity event for Sharon, back in July 2012, raising a substantial amount of money. Shortly after, Sharon was able to purchase its first wheelchair costing £3,000 which she later donated to BeachAbility.

The legacy of Sharon’s generosity of spirit means BeachAbility can offer access to many of our islands Beautiful beaches.

FAQ’s

If you can’t find an answer to your question here be sure to contact us, if you would like to book a chair please check availability using the form below.

Click on a question below to reveal the answer.

  • Who can use a BeachAbility chair?

    BeachAbility is for any person who finds that, for whatever reason, they have difficulty to walk on the beach.

    People who have used our beach wheelchairs include:

    • People with long term disability from conditions such as stroke; multiple sclerosis; Parkinson’s; head injury; motor neurone disease; spinal injury and cerebral palsy.
    • People with temporary mobility impairment such as those with a leg in plaster.
    • People who are weakened by medical conditions such as breathing difficulties or cancers.
    • The elderly, who are not disabled but may be frail and find the beach a challenging environment to walk on.
    • Those who would like to  attend weddings, birthday parties and family gatherings.
  • When are the chairs available and how far in advance do I need to reserve one?

    We are open all year.

    We try to respond as quickly as possible to requests for a chair booking we are but are not “on -site”. In the summer months it may take up to an hour to get our summer employee out to a booking. In non summer months more notice is required as we don’t have an employee. If possible book a day in advance.

     

  • Can I use the chair on a regular basis?

    If you wish to use the chairs on a regular basis we can offer some basic training on the safety features of the chairs and our cleaning requirements to leave chairs in a good state for the next user. You may then access the chairs at their storage facility without the need of support from BeachAbility. This will allow more spontaneous  outings; all we ask is that you call us before taking out a chair to make sure it is is not double booked. If this is of interest to you please ask about “Regular User” training at time of booking.

  • IS THERE A HOIST AVAILABLE?

    BeachAbility is pleased to announce that it will be able to support wheelchair users who require a hoist for transferring on to our beach wheelchairs.

    The portable hoist can be used at all of our locations. Occasionally we have to use the hoist at a short distance from the facility where we know the terrain will be safer for the hoist operation.

    BeachAbility wheelchair users will need to provide their own sling which needs to be of the “Tab” variety to affix to the hoist.

    Bookings can be made in the same way and a BeachAbility Supporter will meet you to familiarise you with the hoist. Conditions of use are that Beach wheelchair users must be accompanied by someone who is trained in the use of hoists and who know their client’s needs.

  • What else do I need to consider or bring?

    It can get breezy on the beach and even on a sunny day can be cool. BeachAbility provides blankets for your use, but you should also wear sufficient warm clothing.

  • What size are the chairs?

    The dimensions of the chair must be suitable to accommodate your size.

    Adult chair: Seat width and depth are 45cms (18 inches).

    Child/small adult chair: Seat width and depth are 36cms (14 inches).

    The maximum weight the adult chair can hold is 25 stone or 158kg.

  • How long can I use the chair for?

    You can use one of our chairs for up to 3 hours. Arrangements can be made if you would like to have the chair longer or have regular access to a beach chair.

  • What if the weather turns bad?

    BeachAbility fully understands that weather conditions can change. if you need to cancel your booking please let us know as soon as possible on 07797 935 088.

  • Can the chairs go in the water?

    Chairs are suitable for paddling but not for swimming.

  • Will help be available?

    BeachAbility has a friendly team of Supporters one of whom will meet you at the beach location. They will give you a demonstration of the wheelchair and see you safely on your way. The whole process takes no longer than 15 minutes.

    Please note BeachAbility Supporters are unable to help you get into the beach wheelchairs. You will need to be accompanied by an adult helper to assist with transfers and to push the wheelchair.

    Your Helper needs to be fit enough to push the wheelchair across the sand and up and down the slipways.

  • How can I become a supporter?

    If you would like to become a supporter then we would love to hear from you. Email us at beachability@hotmail.co.uk

  • Where can I find more useful information?
  • Terms & Conditions of Use 2016

    The user must:

    • Be able to perform a safe standing or a sideways transfer on to the beach chair without assistance from the BeachAbility supporters.
    • Have sufficient balance to sit upright without additional support.
    • The Hoist User must additionally: Bring a helper trained in manual handling to use the hoist and to advise on your transfer. A manually handling trained BeachAbility supporter can assist with the hoist transfer.

    The user will provide:

    • Personal details of name, address, telephone number and proof of identification when requested.
    • A helper who is fit enough to push the chair.

    The User accepts responsibility:

    • To use the chair only on the beach and not enter sea with the chair or travel on the road.
    • To ensure that the wheelchair is suitable for their needs.
    • To use the wheelchair completely at their own risk.
      To take full responsibility for the wheelchair and return it in good condition.
    • To be liable for any damages sustained to the chair or third parties whilst on loan.
    • To report any defects or concerns to BeachAbility.

    For your safety & comfort we advise:

    • Wear the seat belt provided
    • Take care on the slipways, they can be steep!
    • Keep within walking speed
    • Stay out of the sea with the chair
    • Do not travel on the road
    • Take precautions for safety in the sun
    • Observe the tides
    • The helper wears secure shoes

Testimonials

  • My late wife Sally was living with MND when we twice borrowed a chair in August 2013. We also met up with Sharon at Jersey Pearl and shared our experiences. Sharon was such a lovely woman. MND is an unbearable disease, but your chair helped us to enjoy our time together in Jersey. I am eternally grateful for those two afternoons.

    BeachAbility User
  • Three of our members used the chair. One got to the water’s edge, got out and paddled in the water for the first time since her stroke. We will go down again and thanks for all your help. Barry and Shaza would be so proud to see our members and friends using the buggies. A wonderful charity – keep up the good work.

    Headway Jersey
  • Up until now our wheelchair using pupils have had to stay on the promenade when we have a beach activity, now they can join in fully.

    Bel Royal School
  • Just wanted to say thank you as your charity has made it possible for my nan to join the family on the beach for the first time in over seven years. Your supporters are so friendly and helpful and we will certainly be using this service again. Thank you so much x

    BeachAbility User
  • We had a fabulous time. Arrangements when booking were very clear and helpful. Assistance on the day was great. Overall a great service – should be advertised more.

    BeachAbility User
  • M was so happy to be able to join her friend for the birthday party and it meant we could all go together as a family. Thank you so much.

    BeachAbility User
  • This has been a major achievement to be able to get on the beach and swimming in the sea and it has truly made my holiday worthwhile.

    BeachAbility User
  • The time on the beach made my day, in fact it made my holiday.

    BeachAbility User
  • Brilliant! First day on the beach for years, she loved it. Thank you very much.

    BeachAbility User
  • Fantastic opportunity to explore the beach. Something J and I haven’t been able to do for years. Really appreciated.

    BeachAbility User
  • Using the beach wheelchair was the first time our 19 year old has been able to walk her dog on the beach.

    BeachAbility User

Thanks To Our Donors

BeachAbility is extremely grateful for all donations received, large or small. Without such donations we would not be able to provide our service or fulfil peoples dreams of being able to access Jersey’s beautiful beaches.

Locations

BeachAbility is a charity providing specially designed manual, ballooned wheel chairs for use on the beach and other rough terrain.

Chairs are located at six key sites:

BeachAbility Chair Locations Map
  • St Ouen’s Bay, Le Braye
  • St Brelade’s Bay
  • St Aubin’s, Gunsite Slip
  • West Park, La Fregate Cafe
  • La Mare, St Clement
  • Long Beach, Gorey

Check Availability

Call us on 07797 935 088 to check chair availability, the lines are open 9-4pm, Monday to Friday, if you cannot get in touch during this time please leave a message and we will call you back.

BeachAbility has a friendly team of Supporters, one of whom will meet you at the beach location. They will give you a demonstration of the wheelchair and see you safely on your way. The whole process takes no longer than 15 minutes.

Be sure to check the tides and our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ before checking the availability of a chair.

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