Swimmers campaigning to create access ramp so everyone can enjoy Seaham beach spot

A double campaign is under way to raise cash to create a ramp onto a popular beach so people of all abilities can enjoy it for generations to come.

Saturday, 15th May 2021, 4:55 am

Seaham Seaside Swimmers have set a fundraiser to pay for a feasibility study and then construction work at the town’s Slope Beach, a secluded stretch of sand inside its harbour.

The sheltered spot has become popular with cold water swimmers and the group hope installing a ramp, people with all levels of mobility will be able to reach it, with a set of steps the only way of accessing it now.

The appeal is running alongside another set up by group member Amy Robson, 29, and her dad Martin, 65, following the loss of her mother Pauline, 63, as they create a legacy in her name in tribute to her love of the town’s seafront, already raising more than £4,650 towards the project.

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Kathleen Wotton showing how the steps at Seaham's Slope Beach can be a struggle to those who have mobility issues.

Among those heading up the drive is Kathleen Wotton, from Murton, who has found cold water swimming has brought her health benefits from the condition Lipoedema, which also impacts on her mobility.

She has shared photos of her struggling down the steps to show how difficult it can be.

"We want people of all disabilities and active people to be able to enjoy the benefits and getting into the sea can make a massive improvement to their wellness,” she said.

Seaham's Slope Beach is a popular spot with visitors.

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"I know some family members are left to watch from the car park in their wheelchair while the rest of their family are on the beach because they can’t get access and that’s the same with parents with pushchairs.”

Tony Forster, director of the marina, said: "Seaham Harbour Marina is working collaboratively with interested parties to look at the feasibility of establishing improved access onto the slope beach.

“The success of the funding appeal, over such a short period of time, demonstrates just how much support there is for this project.

Seaham Slope Beach step access could be joined by a ramp if plans win financial support.

"We are about to commission consultants to progress the feasibility work.

"The marina could not be more pleased with the level of public support for the proposal and we are very happy to be working alongside proactive partners in the hope we can deliver this project.”

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Swimmers in the water off Seaham's sheltered Slope Beach.

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