Accessibility

Inclusive Beaches

Everyone should be able to enjoy a day out at the beach!

**Booking now open for Portstewart Strand and Cranfield Beach**

What is an Inclusive Beach?

An Inclusive Beach is a beach environment which Mae Murray Foundation has planned so that people of all ages and abilities can take part, have fun, and be included.

Inclusive Beaches will provide access, parking, and disabled toilets. Toilets will always offer hoisting and adult sized changing bench facilities – to full Changing Places standard whenever possible.

Inclusive Beaches in Northern Ireland offer free beach equipment loan schemes, operated as a partnership between Mae Murray Foundation and respective beach operators.

In addition to offering beach equipment for individual loan, Inclusive Beaches often host events and activities, delivered by Mae Murray Foundation. This may include beach fun days, surf days, litter picking events amongst others. Event notifications are emailed via the membership newsletter. Membership is free, simply click here to join.

How does the Inclusive Beach Equipment Loan Scheme operate?

You will find answers to Frequently Asked Questions, Terms and Conditions, beach locations, schedules and equipment range below. Watching online induction and safety videos are a compulsory part of the 6-step booking process.

Does it take long to make an Equipment Loan Scheme booking?

The 6-step booking process involves watching an induction video and if you are borrowing a floating chair, you will also need to watch a water safety video. If you are using the beach equipment loan scheme for the first time, this is ALL important information, designed to keep you safe. Please set aside time to watch carefully and read the associated information.

Once you are used to the process and have a good understanding of safety measures you may not need to rewatch the videos – enabling you to book more quickly for the rest of the season.

Thanks to all our supporters – we are Creating Change Together.

Wooden Spoon, the Children’s Rugby Charity, SportNI, the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs and BBC Children in Need have all provided funds for purchase of Inclusive Beach equipment and event equipment. Surfing is one of our most popular events and our sit-down tandem surfboard is an amazing piece of kit, designed by a team from national charity Cerebra.

Many individuals and groups have also fundraised to help support the upkeep of this equipment and associated events. Most recently, through a Crowdfunding campaign, with match funding from Sport NI and National Emergency Trust, Anna Corry from Blossomingbirds and her supporters raised funds which is allowing us to introduce Portstewart in 2022. We are very grateful to all our supporters.

 

6 Step Booking Process

  1. Ensure you have membership of Mae Murray Foundation – which is free! Click here.
  2. Watch this online information and safety video. Click here.
  3. Read Frequently Asked Questions and Terms and Conditions.
  4. Check beach schedules and equipment options for your preferred beach. If unsure about which piece of equipment is best for you, contact MMF office.
  5. Complete the online booking request form. You MUST send your request 72 hours in advance.
  6. Await confirmation email with further instruction. If no email is received contact Mae Murray Foundation office on 03006001166

Beach Season Schedule

Beach April/May June July August September
Benone TBC TBC TBC TBC
Cranfield 16th April – 24th April

From 24th  Weekends

Weekends Everyday Everyday Weekends  only- Land based chairs only
Groomsport TBC TBC TBC TBC
Portrush TBC TBC TBC TBC
Portstewart From 9th April –  Everyday Everyday Everyday Everyday Weekends

Equipment List

Equipment Description Benone Cranfield Groomsport Portrush Portstewart
 

Hippocampe Beach Chair

 

Sand use only

Headrest

Armrests

Foot & mesh leg support

Harness

Max. user weight 120kg

 

 

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
 

Hippocampe Beach Chair

 

Sand use only

Lap strap only

Foot well support only

No harness

No leg support

Max. user weight 120kg

 

 

Yes Yes  

 

 

Floating Chair

 

Sand and water use

Harness

Must be removed before entering water

Max. user weight 150kg

(Chair only available for loan when lifeguard on beach. See T&Cs)

 

 

Yes Yes Yes
 

Floating Chair Small

 

Max. user weight 50kg

 

(Chair only available for loan on RNLI safeguarding beach dates)

 

 

 

Yes Yes
 

Beach walker/chair in one

 

Max. user weight 100kg

 

 

 

 

Yes Yes Yes
 

 

 

 

 

De Bug Beach Walker

 

Sand use only

Max. user weight 136kg

Yes Yes Yes
 

Beach Crutches

 

Range of sizes

 

 

 

Yes Yes
 

 

 

 

 

Debug

 

Sand use only

Tilt mechanism

Lateral Support

Headrest

Max user weight 158kg

 

 

 

Yes Yes
Shower trolley/changer

Max. user weight 120kg

 

Options:

Fixed height on wheels

or

Converted to low static changer upon request

Yes Yes Wall mounted height adjustable bench Wall mounted height adjustable bench
 

Shower/Commode Chair

 

Max. user weight 140kg

Headrest

Armrests

Lateral Supports

Footrests

Positive tilt only

 

 

 

Yes Yes
 

Hoist

 

Max user weight 180kg

Sling NOT provided

 

 

Yes Yes Ceiling hoist Ceiling hoist
 

Deployment of wheelchair walkway matting

(Should you require beach matting walkways, it must be requested in advance by emailing our Community Development Officer at comdev@maemurrayfoundation.org  Provision of beach matting is subject to availability of resources to deploy and cannot be guaranteed. We recommend requesting as far in advance as possible, to avoid disappointment).

 

 

 

 

 

Yes
 

Picture not currently available

De Bug Height Adjustable Beach Walker

 

Details will be uploaded to Mae Murray Foundation website once available

 

 

 

Planned

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Inclusive Beach?

An Inclusive Beach is a planned beach environment where people of all ages and abilities can take part, have fun, and be included.

Inclusive Beaches provide access, parking, and disabled toilets – which will always offer hoisting and adult-sized changing bench facilities – to full Changing Places standard whenever possible.

Inclusive Beaches in Northern Ireland offer beach equipment loan schemes operated as a partnership between Mae Murray Foundation and respective beach operators.

What is the beach equipment loan scheme?

The beach equipment loan scheme is a free service providing the opportunity to borrow a range of mobility equipment suited to the beach environment.

The service is available across Northern Ireland at several beach locations which have been given Inclusive Beach status.

The range of equipment may differ from beach to beach, but will usually include beach wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, and temporary walkways.

The loan scheme operates on a pre-booked basis only. It is not possible to simply turn up.

The booking process includes compulsory online Induction – giving you information on equipment, processes and staying safe, together with important terms and conditions of use.

N.B. Only the named person who completes the induction and booked the equipment will be able to collect, return and accept responsibility for the equipment.

Equipment descriptions, pictures and availability information can be found above.

Who can use beach equipment?

Beach equipment can be borrowed by anyone – with a mobility, sensory or other need – who will benefit from using it. It is essential to register as a member of Mae Murray Foundation (free of charge).

The loan scheme is available to residents of Northern Ireland – individuals, families, and groups. With appropriate notice, visitors to Northern Ireland can also be considered.

All loans are subject to Terms and Conditions of use.

How do I book the beach equipment?

Individuals and families should follow the 6 Step Booking Process above.

Groups or visitors should contact the Community Development Officer at:

comdev@maemurrayfoundation.org

When and where are the beach equipment loan schemes available?

For operating schedules and times, please see above.

Can I find out more about individual Inclusive Beach sites and facilities?

Important information about individual locations, such as parking arrangement, toileting facilities and traffic congestion, can be found above.

How is beach equipment cleaned and maintained?

A risk management plan, which includes equipment cleaning, maintenance, and servicing, is implemented by Mae Murray Foundation and beach operating partners. The plan considers any specific public health measures and government advice: e.g., to reduce the transmission risk of Coronavirus. If you would like to know more, please contact the Community Development Officer at comdev@maemurrayfoundation.org

Feedback

Mae Murray Foundation, together with beach operating partners, hope that experiences at inclusive beaches will be fun and stress-free.

After your beach visit, Mae Murray Foundation will request your feedback: your response would be very much appreciated.

If you wish to visit an Inclusive Beach, but have a need which has not been considered, please contact the Community Development Officer at comdev@maemurrayfoundation.org

 

Beach Equipment – Terms & Conditions of Use

1.     Beach equipment can only be used by members of Mae Murray Foundation. Membership is free to individuals, families and groups or organisations and can be completed online.

2.     Overseas Visitors can become members temporarily, with advance notice. Please email our Community Development Officer to enquire at comdev@maemurrayfoundation.org

3.     All data will be held in accordance with our Data Protection Policy and GDPR.

4.     Beach equipment MUST be pre-booked using the 6-step booking process, which includes compulsory online induction. Bookings are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. Only the person who has attended the induction is authorised to make bookings and take charge of equipment. No one else in the family can take responsibility for the equipment, without prior attendance at an induction session.

5.     Booking within 72 hours of equipment loan day is not permitted.

6.     Booking is not confirmed without booking confirmation response.

7.     Locations are listed on our website and important information for individual sites must be read.

8.     Beach equipment handover is provided by Mae Murray Foundation beach operating partners. Punctuality is essential as beach operators may not be present outside of the agreed time.

9.     The responsibility lies with the member to ensure that the equipment meets their need before proceeding to use. Beach operator staff cannot adjust equipment. If unsure which equipment may suit your need, please enquire with Mae Murray Foundation (MMF) about attending an MMF equipment demonstration day before use.

10.  Identification MUST be presented upon arrival. The member taking responsibility for equipment at the beach and showing identification, must be the same member who has made the booking and attended induction briefing.

11.  The member who is taking responsibility for the equipment must ensure that anyone using the equipment is equipped to do so safely and stays within the Terms and Conditions of Use.

12.  Personal equipment cannot be stored.

13.  If required, you must bring along a person or persons, fit enough to push chairs. Assistance to push chairs is not provided.

14.  Secure footwear is recommended.

15.  The maximum weight restriction for individual pieces of equipment must be adhered to and cannot be exceeded.

16.  Beach operator staff on duty cannot assist you with any lifting or handling or transfer requirements and cannot assess suitability of equipment for need.

17.  Handover of equipment is at the discretion of beach operating staff.

18.  Be aware of hazards such as ramps, steps, sharp drops, rocks and uneven sand or ground. Ensure you can control equipment and always have the necessary help.

19.  Be vigilant at access points and be always traffic aware.

20. Beach equipment can only be used within the designated boundary of each beach. Do not leave the designated area, which can be pointed out by beach operating staff.

21.  Take normal precautions whilst out in the sun and wind. If there is a weather warning, the beach equipment loan scheme will not operate. Do not travel to the beach during weather warnings.

Be aware of the changing elements. Limit to short spells, particularly those who struggle to maintain body temperature. Even when cloudy it is possible to get burnt. Use sun protection. The wind can be very cold so have warm clothing or a change of clothes in case it rains.

22.  Floating beach chairs can only be used when RNLI lifeguard is on duty within the RNLI lifeguard safe red/yellow flagged patrol area. The area can be pointed out by beach operating staff.

Extreme care must be taken. It is compulsory to watch the online water safety video before use. STRAPS MUST BE UNDONE AND SECURED OUT OF HARMS WAY BEFORE ENTERING THE WATER. PULL STRAP SHOULD BE UNCLIPPED AND PLACED IN VELCRO POUCH ON REAR OF CHAIR. You must have a minimum of two adult helpers with you to ensure safe positioning is maintained. Please be aware of current sea conditions and understand that these can change at any time. Do not enter the water if it is not calm. RNLI guidance always takes precedence.

23.  Straps should be secured when using equipment on land. Positioning of straps is personal choice. Take care to ensure straps are not too high – keep away from neck area. Keep checking positioning is safe.

24.  The beach wheelchairs should only be used on shore and to the water’s edge. Beach wheelchairs CANNOT be taken into the sea.

25.      Equipment MUST be returned at the agreed time. Failure to do so may result in the future refusal of advance equipment booking.

26.  It is essential to hand back directly to beach operating staff. Do not leave unattended or ask others to return. Loss or damage is the responsibility of the member who has made the booking.

27.  Buoyancy aids are essential if entering water, and wetsuits are strongly recommended. If you do not have your own, then you should investigate hire options before arriving at the beach. Mae Murray Foundation does not hire/provide buoyancy aids – you must organise yourself. If you are not equipped, do not enter the water.

28.  Beach matting which can be deployed to create a temporary beach walkway is not automatically available. It may need to be moved from another beach location.  Should you require beach matting walkways, it must be requested in advance by emailing our Community Development Officer at comdev@maemurrayfoundation.org  Provision of beach matting is subject to availability of resources to deploy and cannot be guaranteed. We recommend requesting as far in advance as possible, to avoid disappointment.

29.  If your circumstances change and you can no longer attend, please ensure your booking is cancelled by emailing events@maemurrayfoundation.org or info@maemurrayfoundation.org Failure to attend at allocated time without notification may result in the future refusal of advance equipment booking.

30.      If you have any problems or concerns with equipment whilst it is in your care, please stop use and return to the beach operator base.

31.      In the event of a medical emergency please contact emergency services.

Site-specific information

Click on the links below to see information regarding parking, toilets etc which is specific to each beach:

Portstewart Strand

Beach Safety Video