Accessibility

Inclusive Beaches

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

Want to use beach equipment in summer 2021?

To use our equipment you MUST attend one of our Inclusive Beach Safety Induction meetings. These sessions take place via Zoom and last 30 minutes. Upcoming induction dates are: Wednesday 14 July 11am, Friday 16 July 11am and Tuesday 20 July 10am.

Book by clicking on the link below:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc6FmX7f_Fc5-9aWdKTIP0L1RfIfH22UlpHBGKkW9g9pMv7ew/viewform

 

We are delighted to announce that our Inclusive Beaches are returning for Summer 2021. This year we will be operating from Benone and Cranfield. Groomsport has been temporarily paused and we are working to introduce Portrush. We will update this page when we have more information.

The health and safety of our members, and working to minimise the spread of Coronavirus, is our priority. In order to reduce the risk to our members, beach operating partners and volunteers we have introduced new processes and would welcome members’ support.

Anyone wishing to borrow equipment, for the 2021 season, must be a member of Mae Murray Foundation and attend an online ‘Inclusive Beach Induction’ session prior to booking equipment. The ‘Inclusive Beach Induction’ session will include general information about the loan scheme, how to use equipment safely and what measures are in place to reduce the risk of Coronavirus transmission.  It is also an opportunity to ask any questions. Those who complete the induction session are then permitted to pre-book equipment for the 2021 season and must take responsibility for use of equipment at the beach. This responsibility cannot be passed to another person, whether within the same family or not, unless they too have completed the online induction session. We strongly recommend that anyone wishing to borrow beach equipment this summer, registers for induction as early as possible, to avoid disappointment.

You will find answers to Frequently Asked Questions, beach schedules and equipment range below. Video’s (pictured below) of equipment in action is further down the page.

We would like to thank Wooden Spoon, the Children’s Rugby Charity, SportNI and the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs for funding the equipment at our inclusive beaches.

What is an Inclusive Beach?

In 2016 we set about designing solutions and processes so that people who couldn’t access and participate on beaches in NI would be empowered to do so. We gave ourselves a target of creating inclusion on at least one beach in each beach operating council area. Thanks to partnership with council and support from funders,  we are now #CreatingChangeTogether.

We ensure we address toileting need, hoisting requirements, adult changing bench facilities, wheelchair vehicle unloading areas, temporary walkways and accessible beach mobility equipment storage points. If you find you have a need we haven’t thought of, please get in touch! Please note, unfortunately we have withdrawn the Splashy seat from our loan scheme. We are currently seeking an alternative option, so please bear with us.

Special thanks to Wooden Spoon, the Children’s Rugby Charity, SportNI and the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs for funding these inclusive beaches. Thanks also to BBC Children in Need who funded our first beach wheelchair and our Sit-down Surfboard – which families can access during our special event days.  This amazing piece of kit, designed by a team from the national charity Cerebra, together with their advisors in Wales, means surf can now be accessed by people with a range of physical ability.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions, beach schedules and range of equipment below. Have a look at our video’s (pictured below) to see the equipment in action.

 

6 Step Booking Process

  1. Ensure you have membership of Mae Murray Foundation – which is free! Click here.
  2. Attend an online ‘Inclusive Beach Safety Induction’ meeting.
  3. Read Frequently Asked Questions and Terms & Conditions below
  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 online booking request form. NB You must send your request at least 72 hours in advance.
  6. Await confirmation email with further instruction. If no email is received contact Mae Murray Foundation office on 0300 600 1166.

Beach Season Schedule

Beach April/May June July August September
Benone From 26th June Everyday Everyday TBC
Cranfield From 26th June Everyday Everyday TBC
Groomsport TBC TBC TBC TBC
Portrush To be confirmed

 

Equipment List

 

Equipment Description Benone Cranfield Groomsport Portush
 

Hippocampe Beach Chair

 

Sand use only

Headrest

Armrests

Foot & mesh leg support

Harness

Max. user weight 120kg

 

 

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
 

 

 

 

 

 

De Bug Beach Walker

 

Sand use only

Max. user weight 136kg

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

(See Terms &Condition’s)

 

 

 

 

 

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

*IMPORTANT* – Change in process for 2021

Anyone wishing to borrow equipment, for the 2021 season, must attend an online ‘Inclusive Beach Induction’ session prior to booking equipment. The ‘Inclusive Beach Induction’ session will include general information about the loan scheme, how to use equipment safely and what measures are in place to reduce the risk of Coronavirus transmission.  It is also an opportunity to ask any questions. Those who complete the induction session are then permitted to pre-book equipment for the 2021 season and must take responsibility for use of equipment at the beach. This responsibility cannot be passed to another person, whether within the same family or not, unless they too have completed the online induction session. We strongly recommend that anyone wishing to borrow beach equipment this summer, registers for induction as early as possible, to avoid disappointment.

 

Who can use beach equipment?

Beach equipment can be used by anyone in Northern Ireland, who is a member of the Mae Murray Foundation (MMF), and who will benefit from equipment to assist with mobility or sensory need. Membership is free of charge and is open to anyone of any age, who is socially isolated due to age, disability or medical condition.  Membership forms can be completed online at  http://www.maemurrayfoundation.org/get-involved/become-a-member/ Please bear in mind you may need assistance to propel a beach wheelchair. We cannot provide this support, so you must bring your own help if required.

Charities, organisations, schools and groups are also able to borrow equipment. Contact Mae Murray Foundation directly on 0300 600 1166 with details of the group’s requirements, at the earliest possible opportunity, to avoid disappointment.

With sufficient notice, it is possible to accommodate overseas visitors. Contact Mae Murray Foundation on 0300 600 1166 for further information.

 

How must does it cost?

The beach equipment loan scheme operates free of charge, to enable as many people as possible to take part on our beaches. Donations are always welcome. If you wish to contribute towards Mae Murray Foundation running costs, please go to www.maemurrayfoundation.org/donate to find out how to donate.

 

Where is the equipment located?

Benone: The Cube (behind The Ark toilet block), Benone Beach.

Cranfield: Storage unit, (rear left-hand side of car park), Cranfield Beach.

Groomsport: Storage unit incorporated within toilet block, Groomsport Beach

Portrush: Storage unit within amenity block, Portrush East Strand Beach.

 

Can I simply turn up at the beach?

No. For the 2021 season it is essential that you follow the process outlined. Anyone who has not attended our online ‘Inclusive Beach Induction’ will not be eligible to borrow equipment this year.  All equipment must be booked in advance online.

 

How do I pre-book equipment?

It is essential to pre-book online via the Mae Murray Foundation website. Follow the 6-step process here:

Inclusive Beaches

(Remember, you must have attended an online ‘Inclusive Beach Induction’ meeting before you book).

Online bookings go directly to MMF beach operating partners. Book as far in advance as possible, but no later than a minimum of 72 hours prior to the planned date. This is to enable beach operators to have time to respond to with availability or confirmation. Please bear in mind beach operators are extremely busy so please be patient. If you do not receive a response, please contact Mae Murray Foundation on 0300 600 1166.

The person booking equipment, must have attended an Inclusive Beach Induction meeting prior to making the booking. The person named on the booking form must be the person that collects the equipment. Identification will be required at the beach. The person named on the booking form is responsible for ensuring anyone using the equipment is equipped to do so safely and stays within Mae Murray Foundation Equipment Loan Scheme Terms and Conditions of Use.

 

How do I know if equipment will suit my needs? Will help be available?

Descriptions of equipment can be found on Mae Murray Foundation website. Should you have any further questions or are unsure which equipment may suit your need, please call Mae Murray Foundation on 03006001166 Mon-Fri 10am-4pm for further information, before making a booking. Members who may need additional enhanced postural support should also make contact.

Beach operator staff on duty can demonstrate the features of equipment but cannot assess suitability of equipment for need nor assist you with any lifting, handling or transfer requirements. Beach operator staff cannot adjust equipment.

Equipment users/members must have an adult helper to assist with transfers and pushing of chairs where needed. Helpers must be fit enough to push the chairs across the sand. Flat footwear is recommended. If you wish to enter the sea, you can only do so if you are using a floating chair and are able to bring two helpers. Everyone must watch the RNLI floating chair water safety video on the beach page of Mae Murray Foundation website before entering the water.

 

When can I use the equipment and how do I stay safe?

For 2021, the equipment loan scheme will operate daily from 26 June through to 29 August at all inclusive beaches. Some beaches may offer limited availability in September. The Mae Murray Foundation website will have the most up to date information.  Floating chairs are always dependent upon lifeguard presence. Please note, some chairs are for use on the sand only, others are for use in the water. Details are listed here: http://www.maemurrayfoundation.org/projects/inclusive-beaches/

Floating chairs can only be used when RNLI lifeguard is on duty within the RNLI lifeguard safe yellow/red flagged patrol area, which can be pointed out by council staff upon request. Extreme care must be taken. If using a floating chair, 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 takes precedence at all times.

Please note, buoyancy aids are essential and wetsuits are strongly recommended if entering water. 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.

Even when cloudy it’s possible to get burnt so please do use sun protection. The wind can be very cold so please make sure you have plenty of warm clothing or a change of clothes in case it rains.

Personal wheelchairs or walking aids should be stored in car.

 

Is a changing bench available?

Benone & Cranfield: An adult sized portable shower trolley is available for use. It is at a fixed waist level height and can also be reduced to a low-level fixed bench, if advance notice is given. For more information, please email info@maemurrayfoundation.org

Groomsport: An adult sized height adjustable bench is located within the changing places toilet.

Portrush: An adult sized height adjustable bench is located within the changing places toilet.

Weight restrictions must be adhered to and can be found on MMF website.

 

Is a hoist available?

Benone Beach & Cranfield Beach:

Yes, we have a portable hoist onsite to assist with transfers where this is needed, but it is essential that you bring your own sling. Staff are not permitted to operate the hoist, attach your sling, nor are they permitted to execute the actual transfer or assist with any lifting or handling – so please do not ask.  It remains the member’s responsibility to provide the sling, ensure that it is correctly attached to the spreader bar, is appropriate for use and that accompanying care/family member is competent to operate.

Groomsport: An overhead hoist is located within the changing places toilet.

Portrush: An overhead hoist is located within the changing places toilet.

Weight restrictions must be adhered to and can be found on MMF website.

 

Will there be accessible walkways on the beach?

For members borrowing beach chairs, walkways are not need as these chairs will move over the sand.

The only beach which will have access to temporary beach walkways in summer 2021 is Groomsport. These will only be deployed upon request. Normal booking processes apply. Please read Terms & Conditions.

If you have any questions about temporary beach walkways, please contact Mae Murray Foundation on 00300 600 1166 or via email info@maemurrayfoundation.org

 

Where can the beach equipment be used?

Beach equipment may be used on the beaches and to/from the toilet blocks. It is not permitted to leave the beach boundary.

 

What if I need to cancel?

If you wish to cancel your booking please email events@maemurrayfoundation.or or info@maemurrayfoundation.org as soon as you can.

Members who book but repeatedly fail to turn up or cancel will have their advance booking facility withdrawn.

 

How is the risk of spreading Coronavirus being reduced?

1.    Members should ensure that they adhere to government advice regarding travel restrictions and social distancing at all times.

2.    Members and beach operating staff should not come to the beach if any of the household have any Coronavirus symptoms; high temperature, cough or loss of taste. Please stay at home and follow government advice.

3.    Beach equipment will only be issued once per day to allow for sanitising and drying to take place.

4.    Beach equipment will be fogged with disinfectant.

5.    Beach operating staff will wear PPE and disinfect hands before touching and handing over equipment.

6.    At handover, only the lead member of the family (who has booked the equipment) should go to the storage unit to retrieve the chair. A face covering should be worn during handover, unless exempt.

7.    Members should sanitise their hands, prior to touching equipment. Hand gel will be available.

8.    Paperwork will not be passed between beach operating staff and members.

 

Comments and Feedback

Mae Murray Foundation, together with beach operating partners, are keen that your day out at the beach is as fun and as stress-free as possible. Following your beach visit, you will receive an email with a link to a feedback form. Please do try to find the time to complete this form so we can grow and improve this unique project.

 

Beach Equipment – Terms & Conditions of Use

1.     Beach equipment can only be used by members of Mae Murray Foundation. Membership is free and valid for a minimum of one year. Membership Forms can be completed online at http://www.maemurrayfoundation.org/get-involved/become-a-member/ Please note: this is NOT an equipment booking form.

2.     Overseas Visitors can become members temporarily, with advance notice. Membership questions should be directed to info@maemurrayfoundation.org Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.

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

4.     This year, equipment cannot be booked unless an online safety induction session has been attended. 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.     Equipment must be reserved in advance by completing an online form at http://www.maemurrayfoundation.org/projects/inclusive-beaches/ You cannot book if you have not attended our online safety induction session. Booking within 72 hours of equipment loan day is not permitted.

6.     Your booking is not confirmed until you receive a booking confirmation response.

7.     Choices of pick up and return times are listed on our website. Please note, punctuality is essential as beach operators may not be present outside of the agreed time.

8.     Beach equipment handover is provided by Mae Murray Foundation beach operating partners. We currently have three partners: Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, Newry, Mourne & Down District Council and Ards & North Down Borough Council.

9.     The responsibility lies with the member to satisfy his/her-self 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.  You must bring along a person or persons, fit enough to push chairs.

14.  Secure footwear is recommended.

15.  Please ensure you do not exceed the maximum weight restriction for individual pieces of equipment.

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 council staff.

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

19.  Be vigilant at access points and be traffic aware at all times.

20.  Take normal precautions whilst out in the sun and wind.

21.  Floating chairs can only be used when RNLI lifeguard is on duty within the RNLI lifeguard safe red/yellow flagged patrol area, which can be pointed out by council staff upon request. 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 takes precedence at all times.

22.  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.

23.  The beach wheelchairs should only be used on shore and in the shallows only (6” or 15cm depth).  Beach wheelchairs CANNOT be taken into the sea.

24.  Please note, buoyancy aids are essential and wetsuits are strongly recommended if entering water. 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.

25.  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 so please do use sun protection. The wind can be very cold so have warm clothing or a change of clothes in case it rains.

26.  Beach matting which can be deployed to create a temporary beach walkway is available at Groomsport only for summer 2021. Should you require beach matting walkways, it is essential to use the 6-step booking process.

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

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

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.

 

For your further safety:

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.

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