A Castlepoint Beach resident is on a mission to make sure everybody can access the beach this summer.
Helen Welch is raising $17,000 to purchase two all-terrain wheelchairs and an all-terrain WheelEEZ Beach Rollator for visitors to Castlepoint Beach.
The equipment, available from New Zealand company Beachwheels NZ, will help Welch realise her dream of helping “disabled people to be able to enjoy life like everybody else, or to be able to participate in things that able-bodied people all do and take for granted”.
With the support of her sister Suzie Adamson and friend Sharon Parker, Welch has set up a charitable trust, Castlepoint 4 Beach Wheels, to fulfil her ambition.
“I’ve never done anything like this before”, Welch, a teacher aid, said, “and sometimes I think, ‘Wow, what am I doing?’ But then when somebody rings with a donation, it’s incredible.”
The equipment Welch wants to buy will enable disabled people of all ages to get onto the sand and, in the case of the two all-terrain wheelchairs, right into the sea.
The chairs and stroller are designed with large, soft, and pliable ‘balloon’ wheels, which travel easily over sand, rocks, and other obstacles.
Welch knows from her research and from talking to visitors to Castlepoint that the equipment will be well-used.
“I see lots of groups come out here, and all they can do is sit in the van or sit at the picnic tables up on the road and not have access to the beach, and a lot of them are desperate to get down there.”
Once Welch has purchased the equipment, it can be booked by users free of charge.
“There is no cost to use it, but there is a $50 bond to make sure it’s safe and looked after, and the bond is returned to you as soon as I have the chair back in my hands.”
Part of Welch’s fundraising campaign includes a raffle, which will be drawn on December 20 and includes prizes from Rahui Coastal Loop Walk, Whakatiki Hotel, and Evie May shoes in Kuripuni.
For more information about Castlepoint 4 Beach Wheels, to donate, or to purchase a raffle ticket, email [email protected]