St Andrews: New walkway and viewing platform open up beach and sea access to disabled visitors

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Work has started on a walkway and viewing platforms at West Sands in St Andrews to give people with limited mobility access to see the beach and sea.

It is being done by the Hamish Foundation and work should be completed by the end of May - in time for the 150th Open Championships which will bring huge numbers of visitors into town.

The charitable trust is working with St Andrews Links Trust (SALT), Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT), and Fife Environment Trust.

All its work is covered by fundraising and donations.

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leaflets promoting the beach wheelchairs at St Andrewsleaflets promoting the beach wheelchairs at St Andrews
leaflets promoting the beach wheelchairs at St Andrews

The pandemic has hit timescales for the project, and there has been a substantial rise in the costs of the work, but the trust is looking forward to its completion.

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Debbie MacCallum, trustee said: “We are delighted that we can now push forward and increase the access to our wonderful West Sands beach.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone to enjoy the positive benefits of a day at the beach in St Andrews this year.”

The project has enjoyed good local support with charities welcoming the improved access to the beach.

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Amy Newton who chairs the MS Society Fife Branch said it was “an invaluable project” and added: “What the beach wheelchairs have enabled users to do is actually use the beaches in St Andrews for the first time in years.

“People who are able bodied do not think twice about walking along a beach, playing with their children in the sand or just walking and taking in the fresh beach air and views.

“However, to people with MS this is not a simple task and to many this is not possible due to mobility restraints.

Now the opportunity has arisen where this invaluable resource can be expanded to include a walkway and viewing platform in which our members will be able to use their own mobility aids to access the beach and sit and view the sea at their leisure without being limited to have someone to wheel them back and forwards.

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“This level of independence is crucial for a person's mental as well as physical wellbeing.”

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