Chamber charity of the week| Disability Networks | November 2020

Disability Networks and Celton Manx join forces to bring in the Island’s first publicly available Beach Wheelchair

Date: Wednesday 25 November 2020

Back in the early spring, Disability Networks (DN) were delighted to receive a generous Celton Manx Recognition Award of £3,000 to purchase and import a beach wheelchair to make our island beaches more accessible. The funds arrived in the bank account and the order was placed just as the Isle of Man went into Covid 19 lockdown. DN had to pay 100% ahead and had timed it just as sterling dropped against the dollar. The chair cost £200 more than planned.

Once it was manufactured about three weeks later, DN contacted the freight firm who previously had the best quote. Now the slower option we had chosen was no longer available and the price had increased by £300 but remained competitive with other companies. Freight in general was looking unreliable at this early point and FCX Express advised me to wait while the covid 19 situation settled down.

The chair manufacturers kindly stored the chair without charge as they were only too well aware of the hike in transport charges that other customers had fallen foul of. Over the months DN enquired afresh but the price remained high.

Once we islanders were released from lockdown we held two fundraising events in August and the £360 raised meant we could feel absolutely sure that we had enough funds, despite the unanticipated increase costs. Disability Networks contacted the insurers Tarleton Hodgson to arrange travel insurance of £100. Aviva dropped 10% off the price because they wished to help, the broker did not charge commission and Ramsey Rotary have paid the remainder, all of which was awesome. FCX Express also have charged us cost only because we are a charity. We have an amazing community here.

We asked for the chair to be transported in September but the pick-up did not go ahead as planned as Florida had suffered a big hurricane with lots of damage to staff homes plus the workshop roof half ripped off so everyone had been diverted to emergency repairs, boiling water and Red Cross support teams. The chair did subsequently arrive safely in perfect order.

We had not been sure that the chair would qualify for exemption from import duty of 20% for essential medical items but indeed it was viewed as such, saving an extra cost of £440. This news meant the Celton Manx Recognition grant covered all costs involved. Now we are just waiting for full insurance cover for the service to commence from Ramsey Outdoors who have been supportive of this initiative right from the start. Now we would like other partners to come forward who are placed close to beaches who have storage room for a bulky item, the skills to service and maintain a beach wheelchair and the willingness to support our less able members of the community who are itching to get back on a beach with their family and friends.


The beach wheelchair purchased because of Celton Manx generous donation