”On the way home all my friends were going for a paddle in the sea as it looked lovely but because I was in my wheelchair I couldn’t join in”.
This comment was made by a local 15 year-old who, despite being confined to a wheelchair, does her utmost to lead a ‘normal’ and active teenage lifestyle.
The absence of a wheelchair-accessible pathway onto Girvan beach is continually highlighted as a major issue and barrier for wheelchair users of both the local community and visiting tourists and families.
In addition to the beach’s natural attraction for children several tourists have also voiced their disappointment at being ‘A far off spectator’ whilst their partner and children have fun on the beach.
Girvan Youth Trust (GYT) now want to redress this long standing and discriminative issue. Its research into the matter has them believe that they would be the first Scottish seaside resort to implement such a beach facility.
The trust is currently applying for funding to install some much needed disabled access onto the beach.
Chic Martindale from GYT said: “We have been successful in the initial round of applications however the next stage requires us to generate as much support as possible in order to increase our chances of winning the bidding and completing this necessary work.”
You can register your vote for the trust at https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/16-3367
First established in 1999, GYT is a community owned and youth driven grassroots youth charity who engage and support over 300 12-18 year olds including 46 young people with ASN (additional support needs).
Its work is currently carried out by seven full time members of staff, 10 voluntary Trustees and a core base of 60 local adult and youth volunteers.
The aim of GYT is to improve the quality of life for all local young people living in Girvan and the surrounding seven rural villages.
Girvan is in the top 15% of the SMID index in regards to social and economic deprivation.
The ongoing ‘hands on’ youth work has resulted in local young people becoming recognised and valued as the lead community group in the rebranding and regeneration of the once thriving and vibrant traditional fishing port and seaside resort.
The Trust has, since 2012, successfully operated the public boating pond.
This seasonal youth training project has been further developed with the introduction of a yearly 12 week summer programme of seafront family entertainment and activities. The success of Girvan Youth Trust’s ‘A Day at the Seaside, A Lifelong Memory’ summer programme has generated a heightened public awareness and increased tourist footfall to Girvan.
The youth trust proposed installation of a heavy duty plastic wheelchair accessible pathway and designated family stations on the beach is considered a progressive and complimentary part of the wider community’s effort to improve the seafront.
The path will create and provide a unique opportunity for wheelchair users to access the beach and sea.
It is hoped the promotion of Girvan beach as wheelchair-accessible will create a greater footfall of wheelchair user tourists and thereby have a positive impact on the local economy.