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For the past 15 months, trustees and volunteers have been working incredibly hard to turn an old kiosk into a fully accessible changing room. The new changing room, called The Hive, will be available for lake users with disabilities to book. We also have a new ‘Oxford Dipper’ hoist that people will be able to use to access the lake.

The project has been an ambition for Marlens, the charity that manages Clevedon Marine Lake, for many years. But, last June, we were awarded a grant as part of North Somerset Councils Great Lakes project to put those plans into reality. Then, in October, the council granted us the lease for the former crazy golf kiosk, and work began.

Hard work

One of the most amazing things about this project was that the vast majority of the work was done by volunteers. Not only did volunteers carry out much of the building work, but the entire project was also driven by trustee Hilary Jenkins-Spangler (pictured with trustee Donna Littleton). Hilary has worked tirelessly to manage the project and thoroughly research the needs of all the potential users and a variety of disabilities.

It’s not been easy. But the volunteers’ effort epitomises the community spirit that makes Clevedon Marine Lake. As well as providing unique accessibility at the lake, the Hive will also be a hub for the lake’s volunteers.

Final push

All that’s left now is to get the Hive and hoist signed off for insurance and safety. We’re also building a new booking system and training our volunteers to safely install the hoist so that people can use it.

This project is nearly ready to launch and will make Clevedon Marine Lake the first fully accessible tidal pool in the UK. This will allow people with disabilities who haven’t been able to access wild swimming and kayaking before to enjoy the amazing benefits that being in and on the water can bring.

The community around Clevedon Marine Lake has gone from strength to strength since it was renovated using lottery money in 2015. The Hive and hoist represent an even more inclusive community, which was the dream of Arthur Knott’s Marlens when it was first set up.

Thanks to the determination and drive of Hilary with the support of volunteers, trustees, North Somerset Council, accessibility experts and the wider community, that dream is almost a reality.

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