Applications are now open for Wheelyboat funding

Coulam Wheelyboat V20. Image: Jonathan Eeles

The Wheelyboat Trust and the Angling Trust are delighted to announce the second round of funding for four wheelchair accessible Wheelyboats is now open to angling clubs and fisheries across the UK.

The two organisations launched the first round of funding in March 2019, of which three fisheries are to receive their very own Coulam 16 Wheelyboat as a result. The successful applicants were St Andrews Angling Club (Scotland), Wimbleball Trout Fishery (Devon) and Ravensthorpe Reservoir (Northampton). Now, three brand new Coulam 16 Wheelyboats are being built for each, enabling disabled anglers, and wheelchair users in particular, to enjoy fishing and angling independently, possibly for the first time.

Now, the second round of funding is available, so angling clubs and fisheries are invited to apply before Saturday 4thJanuary 2020, when applications close. All the information needed can be found online: https://grants.anglingtrust.net/

Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, says: “This new partnership really embodies the ethos of The Wheelyboat Trust, and reflects the reason why the charity was founded in the first place…Our Founding Trustee Alan Faulkner had the idea of creating a Wheelyboat after one of his friends, Bill Buchanan, was left wheelchair-bound following an accident. They loved fishing together, and Alan didn’t want this to change following Bill’s accident, which is why the Trust, and Wheelyboats, were born. Over the last 35 years we’ve been working hard to ensure that fishing, boating and any other water-based activities are accessible to everyone, whatever their mobility. We know how fantastic Wheelyboats are to those who operate them, so we hope angling clubs and fisheries from all corners of the UK will apply for one with this new round of funding, and hopefully this time next year their anglers will be reaping the benefits!”

The Wheelyboat Trust offers two purpose-built angling boats – the Coulam 15 and the Coulam 16 – of which 27 are already used on fisheries all over the UK and Ireland. Through this funding a total of seven applicants will receive a Coulam 16 Wheelyboat, which is almost identical to the standard Coulam 16, but it is built with a hydraulic platform in the middle of the boat that lowers the angler from gunwale height to floor level. To board, the angler wheels up a short ramp onto the platform, where a lever is pressed that lowers the platform. Once at floor level, the angler can then position themselves at the bow or stern. The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat can be driven from a wheelchair and, once on board, the disabled angler can operate the Wheelyboat entirely independently.

The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is very versatile; boarding is possible from a floating pontoon, jetty or from a bank – though a longer ramp might be needed for the latter. It can accommodate three people and the maximum outboard motor is 10hp. It’s designed for angling on still waters (on the drift or at anchor) and although its wide beam makes it unsuitable for rowing very far, it can be used on a river if motored to the swim or pool and anchored up.

For salmon fishing, where a boatman rows and the angler fishes from the stern, a Coulam 15 is recommended. Two Coulam 15 Wheelyboats already operate on the River Tweed (which borders England and Scotland), and applications can be made for this model instead of the Coulam 16, if preferred.

The Wheelyboat Trust has raised £35,000 in grants from the Peter Harrison Foundation (£30,000) and Lord Barnby’s Foundation (£5,000) to support this new initiative with the Angling Trust. It is with huge thanks to both that the seven Wheelyboats will each be discounted by £5,000, bringing the cost of each boat down to the same price as the standard, non-accessible, version of the Coulam 16.

In addition to this partnership and providing Wheelyboats to fisheries and angling clubs, The Wheelyboat Trust also supplies a range of Wheelyboat models to Sailability groups, outdoor activity centres, special educational needs schools, sailing and powerboat schools and youth and community groups – to name a few – so that anyone, at any age, with any disability, can enjoy being out on the water.

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.

To find out more about The Wheelyboat Trust, visit www.wheelyboats.org.