QEF helps make holidays more accessible

Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF), which specialises in helping disabled people to gain independence, now offers a range of options for disabled people who want to enjoy a holiday within its family of charities.

In addition to accessible holiday bungalows on the south coast, QEF also offers a canal boat that’s highly adapted, not just to be wheelchair friendly, but which can be piloted by someone that has very limited movement.

There is also the ‘Tryb4uFly’ service. This enables disabled people and their families to reduce anxieties that may be associated with flying. It involves trying out seating and transfer solutions for both adults and children in an aircraft fuselage with real aeroplane seating, for a realistic experience, so that the most appropriate equipment can be identified.

The question QEF always asks when it comes to offering travel options for people with disabilities or injuries is ‘how can we positively change people’s lives and increase their independence?’ When it came to the canal boat – the QEF Jubilee – the answer was not just to make it wheelchair-friendly, but to ensure that taking charge, being at the helm of the ship, is something that even people with severe disabilities can do with just a small amount of training. The adaptations include hydraulic lifts and a helm area with both wheel and joystick controls. There is a full medical bed and a hoist, two more beds with hoist tracking, eight other beds, and bathroom with a shower that can accommodate a power wheelchair.

Based in Hemel Hempstead on the Grand Union Canal, the QEF Jubilee can travel down into London, which means that many of the city’s attractions are available, or head out through the Chiltern Hills, including to wheelchair accessible nature reserves. Matt Sharpe, a young wheelchair user that went on a trip on the QEF Jubilee with his family. He said: “The best bit is the steering. I’ve controlled the boat and really enjoyed it.”

Matt’s mother added: “Matt feels so often that he’s excluded from things that most people can do, but this has just been fully inclusive and he’s had a lovely time.”

To find out more about QEF canal boat holidays please visit www.vasd.org.uk or call 01372 841148.

To find out about Tryb4uFly please visit www.tryb4ufly.org.uk