Clevedon Marine Lake becomes first in UK to have full wheelchair accessibility
- Credit: Jo Shepherd
A lake in Clevedon has become the first of its kind in the UK to offer full wheelchair accessibility to users, thanks to a community effort.
Swimmers with accessibility requirements can now use the town's Marine Lake with ease after disability changing rooms were built and a hoist was installed to help everyone enjoy the water.
At an event on Wednesday (July 20), a grand unveiling ceremony opened the newly installed Hive, where comedy from Living Spit and live music performed by Jonah Hutchins was enjoyed.
The new installations now make Clevedon's Marine Lake the first and only lake in the UK with full wheelchair accessibility. It will now be available through an online booking system at clevedonmarinelake.co.uk/opening-hours/.
The refurb was primarily achieved through the work of volunteers, with donations from local businesses, that helped to push the project, under the name Hive.
Joe Norman, former chair of Marine Lake Enthusiasts (MARLENS), was presented with a plaque to honour the work of Arthur Knott, and other founders, who were responsible for the refurbishment of the lake.
The £90,000 project was funded with £60,000 from North Somerset Council’s Great Lakes Project and £30,000 through MARLENS.
Cllr Mike Solomon also thanked the MARLENS for leading the way with a lake hoist and making the lake fully wheelchair accessible.
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Hilary Jenkins-Spanagler also thanked Allison and Steve Holland of Clevedon Marine Active for the fun lake activities they have for children with disabilities.
She said: "Inspiration for the project was very personal to me - I have a son on the autism spectrum and feel strongly about the importance of inclusion and accommodating those who are disabled.
"I want everyone to feel welcome at the lake."
Hive volunteer, Lorrie Parnell, thanked trustee and project leader Hilary Jenkins-Spangler for her dedicated work on the project.
She said: "If it wasn’t for Hilary we wouldn't have the Hive or this wonderful evening."
Maine Lake first opened in 1929 by the Lord Mayor of Bristol. MARLENS was set up in 2004 and became a charity in 2015 after the lake fell into decline. It costs around £20,000 a year to upkeep.