A brand new wheelchair accessible Mk III Wheelyboat, specially designed to provide disabled people with hassle-free and independent access to waterborne activities, is being launched at Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre, in Exeter on 23rd May at 14:00. The new Wheelyboat will enable disabled adults and children to participate in a wide range of activities alongside and on equal terms with their able-bodied counterparts. The Wheelyboat is being launched by Devon County Councillor Vanessa Newcombe who was instrumental in helping raise funding for the boat on behalf of Haven Banks.
The Wheelyboat has been supplied through Countryside Mobility South West, a scheme that is working to make the region a truly ‘accessible’ visitor destination by improving access to the countryside for people with limited mobility. 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.
The scheme is supplying four Wheelyboats and Haven Banks’ is the second. Additional funds were generously provided by the Nineveh Charitable Trust, Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, Frognal Trust, Elmgrant Trust, Norman Family Charitable Trust, Good Neighbours Trust, Suzuki GB and Haven Banks.
The Mk III Wheelyboat was designed and developed by The Wheelyboat Trust, a small national charity dedicated to providing disabled people with access to waterborne activities. At 5.3m long it is a versatile craft with a carrying capacity of eight people including wheelchairs. It is fitted with a drive-from-wheelchair console enabling people even with quite severe impairments to experience the thrill of driving the boat themselves. As well as supplying the Wheelyboat, The Wheelyboat Trust helped raise the funds to build and equip it.
Haven Banks is based on the Exeter Canal and is part of Devon County Council’s Youth Service. It offers a range of adventurous outdoor activities; water and land based, and teaches children and adults how to participate in them safely with the emphasis on fun and adventure.