Local Solutions are launching the Wheelyboat at their Liverpool Watersports Centre this Thursday (12 April)
Not-for-profit charity Local Solutions is launching brand new wheelchair accessible powerboat Wheelyboat at their Liverpool Watersports Centre this Thursday (12 April).
The Wheelyboat Trust and Local Solutions are working together to give the opportunity to people with mobility impairments to participate in water-based activities at the centre and the Wheelyboat is the first boat at the facility to allow visitors to do just that.
The new Coulam V20 Wheelyboat, has been named ‘Sir Bert Massie’ after disability rights campaigner and long standing trustee of Local Solutions. The boat will be officially launched at 4:00pm on Thursday 12 April by Sir Bert Massie’s wife, Lady Maureen Massie.
The event will also be attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mr Mark Blundell and local Councillor Pam Thomas, Cabinet Member for Inclusive and Accessible City of Liverpool City Council who will both be making speeches at the event.
Local Solutions’ Watersports Centre is in the process of developing its facilities specifically for people with disabilities. Local Solutions and the Wheelyboat Trust with support from Sports England have raised £33,220 for the new Wheelyboat. The addition of this boat will allow sensory and mobility-impaired visitors to take part in boating and water activities, thanks to the new roll-on, roll-off access powerboat which will enable them to get on and off the Wheelyboat without the need to leave their chairs.
Developed by The Wheelyboat Trust and J M Coulam Boatbuilders, the V20 Wheelyboat offers flexible seating, an open level deck and a watertight bow door that lowers to form a solid ramp for extremely easy and safe wheelchair-friendly access.
The Wheelyboat will also be available to disable tourists visiting Liverpool. Visitors with mobility restrictions will now be able to enjoy pleasure boating and historical tours of the famous city docks from the water, as well as taking part in power boat training.
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Jon Hannaway, manager at Liverpool Watersports Centre commented: “We’re committed to extending our activities and provision, to make watersports accessible to everyone. Having the Wheelyboat means we can offer so much more for people with disabilities, everything from pleasure boating, tours of the docks to gaining qualifications. Taking part in watersports is so good for your physical and mental health and this is just the first part of our campaign to extend the activities we have available. The Wheelyboat gives us the perfect vessel for wheelchair users to experience independence and get involved on the water, honing both their physical skills and boosting their well-being.”
Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust added: “Our Wheelyboats are designed to provide all people with access to the water, giving disabled people confidence and the equal opportunity to experience freedom and enjoyment on the water. The launch of this boat by Local Solutions at the Liverpool Watersports Centre will allow disabled visitors to not only have access to the water, but also gain powerboating tuition and qualifications for the first time, so this launch is particularly special.”
A few Wheelyboats are currently in use. One, named after Cheeki Rafiki casualty James Male is at the QE2 Activity Centre based outside Southampton, whilst the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is in use as a fishing boat at Draycote Reservoir in Warwickshire.