Return of wheelchair access scheme helps Hartlepool youngster with GCSE studies

The return of a wheelchair loan scheme at Seaton Carew beach has helped a Hartlepool pupil with an important project ahead of his GCSEs.

Friday, 29th July 2022, 4:45 am

High Tunstall pupil Alfie Smith managed to take part in field work at the beach as part of his geography studies earlier this month after specially adapted wheelchairs became available to hire at Seaton Carew once again.

Alfie, who has just left Year 10, is due to take his GCSEs next year and would not have been able to cover a compulsory part of the course without accessing the beach.

High Tunstall headteacher Mark Tilling said Alfie was very happy to participate in the field work at the beach.

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High Tunstall College of Science pupil Alfie Smith sits in a "wide wheel" wheelchair that allows him full access to the Beech at Seaton Carew to complete his GCSE course work.

“He’s a very happy young man anyway. He’s very pleased to have taken part with his peers and do the geography course work,” said Mr Tilling.

He added: “Without access to the beach, he would not have been able to take part in our geography field work on the beach.

"This meant he would have been put at a disadvantage in his GCSEs next year because he wouldn’t have covered a compulsory, quite big part of the course.

"We are very lucky in Hartlepool that we’ve got these facilities available to us so that the young people can engage and make sure they can complete all their studies as they need to.”

Alfie with fellow pupils, headteacher Mark tilling and support worker Dawn Bearby (front and right) .

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The beach-friendly wheelchairs, provided by charity Beach Access North East, found a new home at one of the units at the Clock Tower bus shelter in Seaton Carew at the end of June.

They were previously stored at the beach huts. It is hoped the unit at the Clock Tower will be their permanent home.

Mr Tilling added: "We are very grateful for them to give us those facilities.

High Tunstall College of Science pupil Alfie Smith with headteacher Mark Tilling Headteacher and Alfie's support worker Dawn Bearby.

"It’s important that we include young people in all parts of their curriculum and having access to these facilities means you can be truly inclusive at all times.”

The wheelchairs can be hired free of charge by contacting Beach Access North East- Hartlepool on Facebook.

Volunteers will then meet people who have booked on site and assist them.