Beaches in Gibraltar are once again conveniently accessible for disabled locals and visitors this summer as part of an ongoing enhancement program.
The facilities were first introduced by the government in 2015 under the auspices of an official “Disability Strategy”. Since then, people with both permanent and temporary physical disabilities, as well as the elderly, have had the option to use these free facilities and enjoy Gibraltar’s beaches (Eastern, Catalan and Western, as well as Camp Bay and Bathing Pavillion) during the summer months.
Specialised equipment such as amphibious chairs and mobile hoists provide easy transfer facilities, and the main accessibility features at the beaches include ramp access from the road to the pergola units, and direct access to the shore via “mobi-mats” (synthetic walkways specially designed for the transit of amphibious chairs on the beach). Accessible toilets are also available at Catalan Bay, Eastern Beach, Western Beach and Bathing Pavilion, and Changing Place toilets at Eastern Beach, Camp Bay and Bathing Pavilion.
This year, another key enhancement program has been undertaken at the popular Europa Pool, which opened to the general public after the 2019 Island Games. The work includes a new ramp with side bannisters, the installation of an accessible toilet, and improved access between the pool and patio seating area.
Announcing the enhancements, the minister with responsibility for disability, Samantha Sacramento, said, “I am very pleased with the ever-improving accessible facilities at our beaches for people with disabilities, and the standard of what is on offer in Gibraltar is much better than many public beaches in Europe.
“The summer has just started and I once again want to remind people with disabilities of the fantastic facilities available to them at our beaches. Beach life is important in Gibraltar and our tradition of going to the beach as a family should not be affected by a family member’s disability, and it was this government that introduced all the widespread accessible facilities at our beaches, so that every member of the family can enjoy the beach with their loved ones with everyone included.”
For visitors flying to Gibraltar, the international airport is also well-serviced with facilities for the disabled and people with mobility issues.