BYC Disability Project
Clubhouse access and bathroom improvements to support people with disabilities (February 2021)
We are pleased to announce two new actions that we are about to undertake at Benfleet Yacht Club in order to improve access and support people with disabilities, medical conditions and age-related issues.
At the Annual General Meeting held on 8th December 2019, the Committee made a visual presentation to inform attending members of our future plans to improve access to the clubhouse for members, their guests and visitors with disabilities and medical conditions, plus to support our ageing membership.
Our clubhouse, now 40 years old, unfortunately was built at a time when disabled access was not given much consideration. Our doors are narrow and there are too many steps. Many members either due to age or disability find it extremely difficult or completely impossible, to access the clubhouse; especially the first floor and the toilets / changing rooms.
Some of our members have medical conditions requiring a toilet with more privacy plus the need of a handwash basin integrated within the toilet compartment itself.
Our membership is generally getting older. Out of our current 619 'adult' members: 62% are over 60 years old, & 40% are over 70 years old.
Each year the BYC Nore Race attracts entries from the "Hanningfield Sailability Project". Their members win prizes and like to attend the Nore Prizegiving at BYC. However they find our clubhouse extremely difficult to use due to our stairs and toilet facilities. As a modern day club, we find it unacceptable that we are unable to support their needs.
1) Install a dedicated disabled toilet and shower room to the ground floor of the club-house
This will be achieved by infilling the front of the clubhouse under the canopy area around the current front entrance door. Fitting out this area has three advantages:
1) The main building infrastructure is already in place, keep construction cost to a minimum
2) Provide a further large outer entrance hallway
3) Provide a much-needed storage room for our Entertainments Committee
A sketch showing the interior layout of the new building area is available at the bottom of this page.
2) Install a 'Wheel-Chair" lift to provide access from the ground floor to the first floor
Due to the space required, the Wheelchair lift will be installed externally, linked to the eastern balcony.
Much of the lift will be glass to provide good visibility and to improve aesthetics. The lift will be constructed to operate in our coastal environment.
Where are we now?
Both Planning Permission and Building Regulations Approval have been granted.
Funds are in place to fully undertake both actions (assuming some of this work can be performed by volunteer member support - see below).
The Wheelchair lift has been ordered and construction started. The foundations have been excavated and are now awaiting Council inspection.
The building works for the for disabled toilet / shower-room, extended hallway, and storage room are currently in the advanced stages of detailed planning and pricing.
We are seeking Members to help with the construction and fit-out
In order to keep costs down to a minimum, we are seeking member voluntary support to help with the construction and fit-out.
In particular, we are seeking members with "professional trade skills" to undertake the following tasks:
- Brick and block laying of external & internal walls
- Heating Engineer - extend heating system into the new areas, plus plumbing of toilet, sink and shower etc.
- Carpenters - wall lining & cladding & internal door frames etc.
- Electricians - lighting, power supply, extraction fans, call alarm etc.
- Tiling - within disabled toilet / showroom.
- Plus general labouring
All materials and parts will be provided by BYC.
If you are able to help, please contact John Hancock or Paul Field, either in person or via email with full details of the work skills that you are able to offer (click here to send an email).
Please note that the above work is permitted within the current Covid 19 lock-down restrictions, regardless of whether carried out by paid contractors or volunteer members.
Would you like to donate towards this project?
Already, some members have expressed an interest in making a personal financial contribution towards this project (as a donation).
If you would also like to make a financial contribution to this worthy project, please send an email to Paul Field (project co-leader): click here to send an email. All correspondence / discussions will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
In line with the donor's wishes, donations can be either confidential or publicised.
We are making progress: