Written By: Kerry Marshall
On Date: 14/3/2018
Launch on Thursday 15 March of Caldecotte Xperience’s new accessible Wheelyboat provides access to water-based activities to disabled people for the first time A brand new wheelchair accessible powerboat is soon to be launched at Caldecotte Xperience in Milton Keynes, the first fully accessible power boat to operate at this outdoor activity centre, strengthening existing provisions for people with disabilities. The two charities, The Wheelyboat Trust and Action4Youth, are working together to provide young people with mobility impairments with the ability to participate fully in water-based activities at this centre.
The new Coulam V20 Wheelyboat, aptly named ‘The Wheel of Opportunity’ in a competition won by local school, Great Linford Primary, will be officially launched at 11:00am on Thursday 15 March and will be the first V20 to operate in the Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire region. The event will be attended by local MP Iain Stewart, as well as the boat builder Jim Coulam, and engine provider Ade Coulam who are brothers. This vessel will provide safe, dignified and easy access to the water for all disabled visitors. The V20 can be powered by an outboard up to 140hp enabling it to provide high speed action.
The Wheelyboat Trust and Action4Youth partnership started in 2015 when an instructor from Caldecotte Xperience saw a Coulam V20 Wheelyboat being towed along the M1. The instructor realised this might be the perfect vessel to fill a significant gap in provision for mobility impaired people at the outdoor education centre. After Googling the model name, the instructor discovered this was the boat’s builder, Jim Coulam, on his way to the Southampton Boat Show.
This twist of fate led The Wheelyboat Trust and Action4Youth working together to fund the Coulam Wheelyboat V20. The total cost of the project was £41,000 for features including folding bench seating, wheelchair anchorage for the helmsman’s seat, and a 4-wheel braked trailer, with the Wheelyboat Trust raising £10,500 towards the overall cost. Caldecotte Xperience can now enrich the lives of their learning, sensory and mobility impaired visitors with this new roll-on, roll-off access power boat, which will enable them to enjoy the excitement of water sports, without the need to leave their chairs.
Caldecotte Xperience prides itself in being fully inclusive, with a team of experienced staff who have been specially trained to work with disabled people and understand their complex needs. They endeavour to tailor every activity and course to meet the needs of each individual attending, ensuring that everyone, regardless of disability, can enjoy the challenge of adventurous outdoor activities. The special features of the Wheelyboat will provide users with mobility impairments with complete independence, as disabled users will be able to learn to drive the boat themselves, as well as participating as members of the crew, acting as lookout and helping moor the boat. Caldecotte Xperience is confident that at least 700 young people will use the V20 in its first year of operation. In fact, Barnados has already signed up to use it to offer training and qualifications to its beneficiaries in the 19 to 24 age range.
Developed by The Wheelyboat Trust and J M Coulam Boatbuilders, the Coulam V20 offers flexible seating, level deck and a watertight bow door that lowers to form a solid ramp for extremely easy and safe wheelchair-friendly access. The craft allows people with mobility impairments to participate in waterborne activities alongside and on equal terms with their non-disabled counterparts, an important factor in the quality of life they are able to lead.
Jenifer Cameron, CEO of Action4Youth explains: “Action4Youth is an innovative charity that looks beyond all barriers to provide the best possible prospects to children, giving them the confidence and motivation to push themselves to achieve. Our new Wheelyboat is the first of its kind to be launched in the region and will enable all children and young people to have an equal opportunity to experience the excitement and adventure of water sports activities."
Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust says, “Our aim is to enable as many people as possible to enjoy taking part in waterborne activities. This Caldecotte boat is the 15th V20 built in our 191 fleet of Wheelyboats launched in the UK and Europe. The launch of this boat at Caldecotte Xperience will allow disabled visitors to not only have access to the water, but also gain powerboating tuition and qualifications for the first time. This project will benefit in particular those with the most limiting mobility impairments, improve their well-being and broaden their horizons through challenges, independence and thrills!”
The Wheelyboat Trust relies on the support of individuals, companies and charitable organisations to fund its activities. Donations can be made in a variety of ways including online at www.wheelyboats.org/donate.html.
Thursday 15 March 2018, 11:00am-12:00pm
Caldecotte, Xperience, 366 Simpson Rd, Simpson, Milton Keynes MK6 3AG
Jane Bevan or Kerry Marshall, Firebird Public Relations
T: 01235 835297 / 07977 459 547
E: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Available for interview
Andy Beadsley – Director, The Wheelyboat Trust
Nick Lund – Development Director, Action4Youth
Jim Coulam - Boatbuilder
Notes to Editors
• Action4Youth is a registered charity that encourages and inspires young people living in and around Buckinghamshire to reach their full potential.
• They run a wide range of challenging, stimulating and fun programmes at two outdoor education centres.
• For more information, visit http://www.action4youth.org
About Caldecotte Xperience Outdoor Education Centre
• Caldecotte Xperience is an outdoor education centre that provides activities all year round including climbing, caving, bush craft, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, raft building and powerboat training which results in more than 21,000 land and water based pupil sessions every year.
• Caldecotte Xperience works with the surrounding schools, clubs and youth groups as well as with children and young adults from Special Educational Needs schools, day care centres and disability organisations.
• For more information, visit www.caldecottexperience.org.uk
About The Wheelyboat Trust
• The Wheelyboat Trust is a registered charity, dedicated to providing mobility impaired people, young and old, with the opportunity and freedom to participate in waterborne activities all over the UK. Its role is to help and encourage venues open to the public to acquire Wheelyboats for their disabled visitors and to help groups and organisations acquire Wheelyboats for their own use.
• The Wheelyboat Trust was founded in 1984 when it was originally called the Handicapped Anglers Trust. The first Wheelyboat built received its official launch from HRH Prince Charles at Fishmongers' Hall in London. In 2004, the charity was renamed The Wheelyboat Trust to reflect its broader aims and the clear need for Wheelyboats beyond the fishing lake for disabled, elderly and infirm, families and community groups for recreation and sporting pursuits.
• The Trust has designed 7 different Wheelyboat models since its work began in 1984: Mk I, Mk II, Mk III, Mk IV, Coulam 15, Coulam 16 and Coulam Wheelyboat V20.
• To date, the Trust has built and supplied 191 vessels across UK and Europe.
• For more information, visit www.wheelyboats.org
Coulam Wheelyboat V20 technical details
• Designer: Andrew Wolstenholme www.wolstenholmedesign.com
• Boat builder: Jim Coulam www.coulam.co.uk
• Cost: Starting price for a Coulam Wheelyboat V20 is £21,000 and can be tailor made to order
• Materials: The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 is made from glass fibre, representing a cost-efficient alternative to the increasing price of aluminium which is used to build the earlier Wheelyboat models
• Dimensions: The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 is 20 feet long, 7½ feet wide and has a huge 84 square feet of level floor space
• Payload: Up to 1,200kg
• Speed: The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 has a top speed of 30mph with a 90hp outboard
• Passengers: The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 can seat up to 10 adults (cat. D waters) including 6 wheelchair users
• Accessibility: The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 is fully wheelchair accessible via a roll on roll off drop down ramp via the bow door. The boat can also be wheelchair-driven via a specially designed console