National disability charity Revitalise’s Netley Waterside House centre in Southampton welcomed the arrival of the world’s first and only accessible Strandkorb – a traditional German covered beach chair – on 12 October, thanks to the state of Lower Saxony Germany, in partnership with the German National Tourist Office (GNTO).
The unique accessible beach chair, created by Lower Saxony and donated to Revitalise, is the first of its kind in the world and enables a wheelchair user to sit in comfort while being shielded from the elements, with up to two companions seated beside them.
To celebrate the arrival of the Strandkorb, Revitalise hosted an official event to give thanks to Lower Saxony and the GNTO and to allow the centre’s guests to try it out for the first time. It will now take pride of place in the centre’s scenic gardens overlooking Southampton Water.
Commenting on the Strandkorb’s arrival, Esther Mailley, General Manager of Revitalise Netley Waterside House commented:
“I wasn’t sure what to expect when the Strandkorb arrived but it is absolutely superb! More importantly, the guests love it and were using it as soon as we’d set it up in the garden! I feel really honoured that Revitalise and Netley Waterside House were chosen to provide a permanent home for the world’s very first accessible Strandkorb and I can’t thank our German friends enough.”
The Strandkorb was created to promote Lower Saxony’s commitment to fully accessible tourism in Germany. It is also part of the GNTO’s ‘Feeling Fearless’ travel guide – the latest feature of their ‘Barrier Free’ accessible tourism campaign launched in 2012. ‘Feeling Fearless’ promotes accessible adventure activities in Germany including activities like skiing, abseiling and whitewater rafting.
Klaus Lohmann, Director, GNTO UK and Ireland said:
“The German Strandkorb is an iconic sight on German beaches, a place to relax and unwind. This accessible Strandkorb is the world’s first of its kind and we are delighted to present it to Revitalise, with warmest best wishes from our colleagues in Lower Saxony and the German National Tourist Office. Germany as a travel destination is open for all and we hope people will enjoy using the Strandkorb for many years to come”.
Revitalise is a national charity providing respite holidays for disabled people and carers at Netley Waterside House and two other accessible centres in Essex and Southport. Each centre provides short breaks, with 24-hour nurse-led care on-call and personal support, with a wide range of accessible activities and excursions in a holiday environment.