Cranfield Beach, outside Kilkeel, was launched in 2019 as the area’s first fully ‘Inclusive Beach’ thanks to work carried out by the charity Mae Murray Foundation in partnership with Newry, Morne and Down District Council, and funding from Sport NI.
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The Partnership program saw the introduction and delivery of equipment such as beach wheelchairs, floating chairs, sandpipers, changing benches and lifting equipment to families and individuals with different skills or needs.
Equipment is free to borrow and operates strictly on a reservation basis to avoid disappointment.
This year for those wishing to borrow equipment it is essential to complete a short online safety briefing before making a booking. The briefing explains how the scheme works and what steps are taken to reduce the risk of spreading
Mae Murray Foundation founder Alix Crawford said: “Reservations can now be made for July and August and the key message this year is please plan ahead. Just go to our website and read the booking process in six steps. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
“We are delighted to be working with Newry, Morne and Down District Council to introduce these facilities at Cranfield Beach and hope many people of all ages and abilities will benefit.”
Alix continues: “There are many people, young and old, who have never felt sand through their fingers or experienced the thrill of being in the sea, due to the inaccessibility of beaches. This initiative has brought together specialized mobility aids with personal care aids that many people need. The scheme will also be extended to organizations and groups – a great way to have a great day out!”
Newry, Morne and Down District Council Chair, Councilor Cathy Mason said: “I am delighted to hear about the experience this fantastic project has brought since its launch. The Beach Equipment loaner facilities at Cranfield Beach ensure 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 more information on Cranfield’s specialist beach equipment and the booking process, please visit: www.maemurrayfoundation.org/projects/inclusive-beaches/
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