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“ADAPT my Beach” guide launch: supporting development of inclusive beaches across Northern Ireland

The Mae Murray Foundation has launched the “ADAPT my Beach” guide, with support from GroundsWell colleagues in Queen’s University Belfast and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

The ADAPT my Beach guide is an invaluable tool that will support the development of "Inclusive Beaches" across Northern Ireland and beyond. 

The guide has been funded by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast. 

Alix Crawford, Founder of the Charity, explains, “We’ve been receiving an increasing number of calls over the last few years, from both UK and Ireland based beach operators, but also some from further afield, asking about our experiences of setting up and sustaining our inclusive beach model. As we now have five years of learning behind us, we felt this was a good time to share our knowledge, which in turn helps progress our vision of building inclusive societies.” 

Professor Ruth Hunter, Professor of Public Health and Planetary Health at the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast, added: “We know from our research that blue spaces, such as seas and beaches, are really important for better health and wellbeing. Making these spaces inclusive ensures that more people, of all abilities, can experience their benefits. We feel very privileged to work with Mae Murray Foundation to help shape the future of Inclusive Beaches. The ADAPT my Beach guide is an invaluable tool that will support the development of inclusive beaches across Northern Ireland and beyond.” 

Prior to the Foundation’s work in 2017 with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, people of all ages with mobility or sensory needs were excluded from beach environments here. But thanks to the charity’s partnership work, thousands of people can now enjoy access and participation at five beaches in Northern Ireland. 

At an Inclusive Beach visitors will be confident that they can have a stress-free arrival with appropriate parking or drop-off points and dignified toileting facilities that include hoisting facilities and other equipment. Visitors will enjoy accessible connectivity across the beach site and can benefit from the loan of beach mobility equipment and inclusive activities.

Funding Manager at Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Will Steadman, said, “People with disabilities in the UK face challenges using beaches as many beach operators do not fully understand the complex needs of people with disabilities, the barriers to access, and the equipment need to use beaches safely. Mae Murray Foundation’s ADAPT my Beach guide is much needed and a fantastic resource for the sector, which we were very happy to support. Their partnership model is innovative and has been tested extensively through lived experience, which adds to the guide’s strength.” 

Learn more about inclusive beaches and the work Mae Murray Foundation is doing:

Video available in BSL and ISL




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