Specially Designed Boat Helps People with Disabilities Take to the Water in Wareham
7:28am 11th April 2013
A new boat made especially for disabled people has set sail for the first time in Wareham.
The craft has a deck which can take 8 wheelchairs, a door which lowers to make a ramp and a drive-from-wheelchair helm.
It's owned by Wareham Boat Hire and has been supplied through the Countryside Mobility South West scheme.
The scheme has been supported with a grant from Natural England as part of its Access to Nature programme, funded from the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme.
Additional funds came from the Nineveh Charitable Trust, Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, Frognal Trust, Elmgrant Trust, Norman Family Charitable Trust, Suzuki GB and Wareham Boat Hire.
The Mk III Wheelyboat, as it's called, was designed and developed by The Wheelyboat Trust, a small national charity trying to provide disabled people with access to waterborne activities.
The boat was launched from Wareham Boat Hire on the River Frome, and was captained by Andy Beadsley the Director of the Wheelyboat Trust on its first outing.
Passengers were delighted, Linda Harris told Wessex FM, "It's wonderful because Keith (her husband) used to have a boat and he had to give it up with his illness. We live on Portland and this could be ideal for us to come for a day out. It's so good for the disabled people, they don't get forgotten."
Matt Jones who is Wareham Boat Hire's Manager continued, "We are really pleased to add the Wheelyboat to our fleet of hire boats and are very much looking forward to enabling more people to access and enjoy the river and the surrounding environment".
For more information you can head to the Wareham Boat Hire's website by clicking here.