ADA Accessible Beaches

Millions of visitors travel to Tampa, Florida each year to enjoy the region’s world-class shoreline, which boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. However, many people can’t enjoy this natural resource due to mobility challenges. That’s why the Forward Foundation is working to make Tampa Bay’s beaches not only the most beautiful, but the most accessible in the world with an offer to fund a much-needed amenity: mobility mats.

According to the CDC, 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has some form of disability and 1 in 7 struggles with mobility, making it the most common type of disability. That means millions of people have trouble getting around, which is why getting onto a sandy beach is either incredibly difficult, or for many, simply impossible.

The solution? Mobility mats. Mobility mats are nonslip pathways that help individuals with mobility challenges avoid getting stuck in the soft, uneven sand, allowing them to access the beach safely and easily. For so many, mobility mats are a game-changer.

The Forward Foundation is partnering with Help Us Gather (HUG) and the Disability Achievement Center to give Tampa Bay cities a unique offer; a blank check to every beach-facing community interested in installing a mobility mat.

AS SEEN ON

“Human equality is one of the cornerstones of our foundation, and right now people with mobility issues do not have equal access to Tampa Bay’s beaches,” says Robin Lally, President of the Forward Foundation. “We want to see beaches that everyone can enjoy and the Forward Foundation is willing to write a big check to fund it. We are hoping this will be an offer the cities can’t refuse.”

According to one popular brand, MobiMat, only about 30 public parks and beaches in the state of Florida have a MobiMat installed. MobiMat reps say the average cost to purchase and install one of their mobility mats ranges from $4,000-$20,000. The Forward Foundation is offering to cover all these costs for cities interested in installing a mobility mat.

“We have seen firsthand how important mobility mats are in creating equity for every person in our community,” says Jody Armstrong, Director of Outreach at Disability Achievement Center in Largo. “Cities that install mobility mats prove how much they value being inclusive for residents and visitors alike.”

Human equality is one of the cornerstones of our foundation. We want to see beaches everyone can enjoy.

Robin LallyPresident of the Forward Foundation

NEWS COVERAGE

Mobi-mat donation improves Bay Area beach access for those with mobility issues

Advocates for the disabled push for more mobility mats at Tampa Bay beaches

Advocates push for ‘mobility mats’ at Pinellas County beaches

Group works to make Pinellas beaches more accessible

Millions of tourists visit Pinellas County beaches each year. But for residents with disabilities, much of the coveted land is inaccessible

Read the Article

If you are a community leader interested in having a mobility mat sponsored and installed on one of your beaches, please fill out the form below.

If you are a resident looking to bring a mobility mat to one of your local beaches, we need your help advocating. Reach out to your mayor and city commissioners, as well as your county and state leaders to let them know why inclusive and accessible beaches are important.