Cornwall celebrates largest UK fleet of all-terrain wheelchairs

the image is of two Cornwall Mobility staff stood on the beach. Left, female, wears a green waterfall cardigan over a black and white polkadot dress, large brown sunglasses, and large gold-hooped earrings; she has long wavy brown hair and uses a crutch. Right, male wears a royal blue suit, light blue shirt, and a striped white and blue tie. Both are wearing Cornwall Mobility ID badges.
CHAOS Radio - Cornwall Mobility bring new fleet of all-terrain chairs to Cornwall

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Cornwall Mobility, in collaboration with Disability Cornwall and Cornwall Council, have launched a brand new fleet of all-terrain wheelchairs for the public to use at 14 locations across the Cornish coast, writes Tom Howe

The all-terrain wheelchairs are the biggest fleet situated in the UK and are designed for outdoor use, as well as to give users with mobility challenges the freedom to access and enjoy their local beach.

The chairs feature large inflatable wheels which produce a smooth ride off-road and make them very different to the normal wheel or power chair. 

The new chairs are available to hire free of charge and represent a significant milestone in creating a more inclusive and accessible Cornwall.

“I have been super nervous for months and I think it is because it just means so much,” said Leanne Gross, business development manager for Cornwall Mobility, in discussion with CHAOS Radio. “We are so proud of this fleet, we are so proud of having this number of chairs on this number of beaches and we are proud of what we do every single day at Cornwall Mobility. 

“We are part of the Cornwall Disability Alliance and, with them, have funded the chairs. Our tagline is nothing about us without us, and we are literally stronger together. We are a group of charities under one big umbrella and we are really proud of what we are here to present today. 

“From a personal point of view, I am a left above knee amputee and I have two young children. The beach, for years, has been a no-go for me. My crutches sink in the sand. I always try to focus on what I can do, not on what I can’t but the beach is just a big no. These chairs change my life. I can hold my son and daughter’s hand as we go along the beach, and I can get to the water. 

“It is such a tangible, life changing thing for me and I just hope we can replicate that for hundreds of other people across Cornwall. It is the sense of freedom, which is priceless isn’t it? Freedom and dignity and not always having to be the person that is sat out in the family. This is something that includes everybody and means that you can go out with your family. It is great for your mental health and well-being, which is so important.” 

A celebration of the new fleet was held at Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth on March 20th, and was attended by various other organisations such as Active8, Wetwheels Foundation and Disability Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, whose Chief Executive Jane Johnson tracked a 20-year journey that began with the Duchy’s very first sand chair.

“It is super exciting for us,” said Johnson, who is also co-chair of the Cornwall Disability Alliance. “It is 20 years this year since we brought the first sand chair into Cornwall and it was a little bit piecemeal at the time. They are obviously incredibly expensive and here we are, 20 years later, with a whole new fleet for Cornwall. 

“It has been quite a long journey to get to this day. [In my speech], I want to talk about a lady that we met when we first launched the chairs on the Isles of Scilly, which was incredible and it showed us the real impact that these chairs can make on people’s lives. 

“What is really important is that these chairs are great for getting people who can get into them moving around and [allow for] access to the beach. However, there are people that will always need a hoist to be enabled to get into a chair, and it is very difficult to make hoists available where the chairs are located. 

“They are often in beachside shops which couldn’t accommodate a hoist safely. The next step for us is changing place toilets that will enable people to safely and with dignity get into the chairs in their beach attire. That will be a utopia, when we have changing place toilets at every one of the accessible beaches where the chairs are located.”

Locally these all-terrain wheelchairs can be used free of charge at beaches in Carlyon Bay, Pentewan, Par Sands and Polkerris. 

For more information, including details on how to make a booking, visit

Additional reporting by Meah Howlett.