The original concept of the Project was to provide a warm undercover shelter with facilities and amenities at a reasonable cost for groups of disabled people wanting to enjoy our seafront in a way that the physically able bodied take for granted.
For too long we have seen a day-out spoilt by sudden inclement weather or lack of appropriate toilets.
Our research has discovered that many groups of disabled or vulnerable people do not even consider a day out on the seafront because it is impossible to cater for the needs of their members.
The Tram Stop Shelter intends to enable ALL groups to come down for a day at the seaside AND work with the groups to ensure we are providing what they need rather than build something that will be totally useless.
There are no seafront places located in Southend or in fact anywhere else in the UK that have a shelter with warmth for all year use and toilet and changing facilities appropriate for even the most seriously disabled.
From the start of spreading awareness of our concept we have been inundated with requests from groups and organisations that want to use the Shelter. All ages and abilities are eager to make use of it and the numbers grow all the time.
Below are just a few details of the type of groups that are so wanting our Shelter and saying that it will transform their lives and give them the so important benefits of a day at the seaside and a place for their many activities.
We have split the groups into headings to show the diversity of users:
LIVING WITH DEMENTIA
People of all ages have dementia and a visit to the Shelter will enable them to have a secure area to enjoy the sunshine, views and reminisce of times they can remember.
The benefits are boundless as therapy is hard to come by with this seaside experience hard to replicate and such an event difficult to arrange as there are no suitable venues for such that offer all the necessary facilities.
SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOLS
Many such schools in the area cannot bring groups of children to the beach as the security considerations and facilities are just not available.
The emotional delight of being able to use our Shelter as a venue for the children at these schools was just the most wonderful feeling that we have experienced.
Head Teachers and staff are as one on the vibrancy and specific advantages the Shelter can offer their pupils. At last they will be able to take the children for a day at the seaside and experience all that able bodied have enjoyed.
The occupancy also enables them to provide their own food and dietary needs at very low cost.
SCHOOLS, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITY
All agree that the Shelter will be an asset for learning, low cost and available all year. (See Art, Nature and Culture Page)
The Shelter will be a classroom by the sea.
The fresh clean air of the seafront has always been identified. Our area has been the focus of the treatment of asthma and other physical health problems.
“Taking the Air and Waters” of the seaside was the original desire of Southend and other resorts in the Victorian times developing our town into what it is today.
People suffering from respiratory diseases have always benefitted but have all too often been unable to come because of the threat of cold or hot winds and the sudden shower.
The Shelter will give them refuge from these trip-spoiling problems.
Like asthma sufferers above the people who have sight problems can use the shelter for days out or the occasional visit.
The ability to be able to sit and enjoy the seaside will be a wonderful experience. Listening to the sounds of the waves, the bird song, children playing and the many other unimaginable sounds that normal sighted people cannot relate to would be an amazing experience.
STROKE VICTIMS AND INJURY REHABILITATION
Groups of people who have had strokes or need to rehabilitate after an operation will be able to tarry for a while during a walk on the seafront in the shelter.
Engaging in exercises and other activities undercover with the benefit of fresh air will be a tremendous aid to their recovery.
These groups will use the Shelter for visits to enable them to integrate into the community.
Having the fun of the beach and seaside will give them the opportunity to experience team activities to improve their lives in a relaxed and controlled atmosphere.
The Shelter will have the facilities to provide all their needs.
One of the main reasons for our Chairman’s concept on the use of the seafront, suffering from the problems of the psychological problems of post traumatic stress disorder he knows how important the seafront is for therapy, relaxation and inner help.
The Shelter will provide a place for individuals suffering from mental health issues to meet, discuss, understand and help each other to create better lives for themselves.
Blinds will be available for users requiring privacy.
Many people have this problem either born with or caused by accident.
Very few places are available where they can feel safe and secure from public gaze and curiosity.
A visit to public places can be very hard and a visit to the seaside an impossibility.
The Shelter appropriately screened by blinds will give them a space for activities, wonderful views and beautiful ambience.
Such an experience would be a priceless addition to their lives that are so short of such opportunities.
This would give then a massive boost to lives that can be tremendously sad and lacking in enjoyment.
FAMILY GROUPS FROM DEPRIVED AREAS
There are areas in Southend where some children have never been to the seaside. Incredible as it seems this is a fact.
Families cannot afford to take their children as the lure of costly seaside goods and paraphernalia is so great they cannot disappoint them.
The Shelter will be able to provide a base for a day on the beach without the expense of other places.
Families will be able to use the kitchen to make hot drinks and bring their own picnics for eating inside if the weather turns bad.
There are no commercial outlets nearby so the temptation of spending on expensive attractions is drastically reduced.
The Shelter will also stock beach toys and games for use by these groups.
The Shelter has proved particularly attractive to many groups from deprived areas throughout Essex and East London.
LOCAL PLAYGROUPS AND SCHOOLS
Many of the above have jumped at the chance to use the Shelter for their seaside days and picnics.
Their experience in the past has been extremely costly and short in success due to cost, bad weather and lack of facilities.
The Shelter will give them opportunity to plan a trip without fear of failure.
All children, from even the poorest of families will be able to come for a day at the seaside.
HELP FOR HEROES AND MORE FAMILY GROUPS
The importance of effective rehabilitation cannot be under-estimated.
A visit to the seaside with the family, being able to play on the beach and swim in the sea, play with the children on the sand is pure gold.
Like gold is very difficult to find. Finding normality even more so.
The Shelter will be able to provide the means for families to achieve the virtually impossible.
Appropriate inside space to retreat to in bad weather and / or have a picnic.
With a toilet, changing facility with hoist, adjustable table, toilet and basin beside the beach we are nearly there.
A ramp to the beach fit for wheelchairs and a rubber pathway onto the beach and the sea will give the families every opportunity for a great day.
Our injured service personnel, their families and other family groups with disabled people will have the chance to get happy!!!
HEALTH AND FITNESS
The seafront is used by thousands of people, running, walking and cycling and so on, all working for better health and wellbeing.
So many of these groups wish to use the Shelter as a base for their activities.
Groups engaged in static activities wish to use the Shelter on a regular basis.
The Shelter will be a hub for improving the lives of not only the able-bodied but also for the less abled.
Many charities and other organisations wish to use the Shelter as a base for their fund raising events.
Fun runs, walks, sandcastle competitions, beach games etc. are just a few of these mentioned.
There is no other such low cost place on the seafront than offer what the Shelter can for such events.
Southend seafront has no other place where wheelchair users can access the actual beach, the sea and nearby toilet and changing facilities with inside space that is warm and dry with all year, all weather access.