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Poole pilots UK's first MobiMat and floating wheelchairs

Poole has become the first place in Britain to pilot MobiMats, and floating beach wheelchairs.

Launched on Tuesday 26 July by the Mayor of Poole, Cllr Xena Dion, the ‘Life’s a Beach’ project was funded by the joint Tesco and Groundwork’s Initiative, ‘Bags of Help’.

The Borough of Poole Beaches Team was awarded a grant of £10,000 by the Initiative, as voted for by shoppers, which is funded entirely by the 5p bag levy.

Voting for the allocation of available grants (£8,000, £10,000, and £12,000) took place in Tesco stores across the UK from 27 February until 6 March 2016, with customers choosing where the funding should go via a token scheme.

The MobiMats are highly durable walkways, which can be divided and moved to facilitate all beaches across Poole. Creating a clear and easy path, the MobiMats are ideal for wheelchair users, those with pushchairs, and beach users who may struggle to walk on the sand.

Alongside the MobiMats, Poole is now home to three floating beach wheelchairs. The wheelchairs, which feature lightweight aluminium and stainless steel frames, all-terrain wheels, secure harnesses, and buoyancy aids on the arms, are suitable for use on the MobiMats, or on the sand.

The chairs, which are free to use, were first trialled on Tuesday by Gully’s Place Buddy Kaitlin Moors. Kaitlin, and all other wheel chair users, will now be able easily get to the water’s edge, and even go in the water, using the chair as a base to swim from, or to securely and safely float in.

Kevin McErlane, Head of Culture and Community, Borough of Poole, is pleased with the result. “The new MobiMats and floating wheelchairs will now allow anyone to access our beautiful beaches here in Poole.

Suitable for all users, we are very proud to say that we are the first area in the UK to have these life-changing facilities, and we look forward to everyone being able make the most of their visits to Poole.”

The MobiMats and floating wheelchairs have been supplied and installed by Bournemouth based medical supplies specialist, GE Bridge & Co Ltd.

For more information about the MobiMats, or to reserve a floating wheelchair, please contact Sandbanks Beach Office on 01202 708181. 

 
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