Comporta Beach in Grândola and Conceição Beach in Cascais were the winners of the 2011 ‘Most Accessible Beach’ Award, taking first and second places respectively.
The award, created as part of the ‘Healthy Beaches’ project in partnership between the Vodafone Portugal Foundation, the National Maritime Authority, the Portuguese Lifeboat Institution, the Water Institute, the Nature Conservation and Biodiversity Institute, the National Rehabilitation Institute and the European Blue Flag Association, is intended to recognise the beach with the best accessibility practices in each bathing season.
This year, Conceição Beach and Comporta Beach scored the best marks for criteria including: pedestrian and vehicular access to the bathing beach and movability on the sands, conditions for people with limited mobility, user satisfaction and quality of information for visitors.
In recognition of their efforts, the two municipalities received around 5000 euros’ worth of equipment to install on the beaches. This money will contribute to continued improvement of their beaches.
The Vodafone Portugal Foundation’s ‘Healthy Beaches’ project focuses on safety, accessibility and environmental management and awareness on beaches and covers around 150 beaches in Portugal. In 2011, the project’s activities resulted in 92 rescues and 203 assistance actions, the installation of 12 amphibious wheelchairs and 20 walkways on beaches for people with special needs and dozens of awareness campaigns covering around 40,000 young people. 2011 was also marked by the launch of the ‘Beaches Live’ mobile application, providing real-time information about Portuguese beaches.
The award ceremony for the ‘Most Accessible Beach’ awards was held at Vodafone Portugal’s Head Office, attended by the Secretary of State for the Environment and Territorial Planning, Pedro Afonso de Paulo, the Secretary of State for Solidarity and Social Security, Marco António Costa, the Chairman of Vodafone Portugal and Vice-Chairman of the Vodafone Portugal Foundation, António Coimbra, the Mayor of Cascais, Carlos Carreiras, and the Mayor of Grândola, Carlos Beato.