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Quirky Campers launches UK's first accessible family campervan for hire

Accessible camper van, Accessible Iris

Quirky Campers, a unique British campervan hire service offering beautiful, handcrafted campers from around the country, has welcomed Accessible Iris to its hire fleet. Believed to be the first of its kind for hire in the UK, the campervan has been designed to be accessible and comfortable for families who have a disabled child.

There are currently 1.1 million disabled children in the UK. However, out of the 225,000 motorhomes currently in use in the UK (National Caravan Council, July 2023), there have been no other accessible vehicles available for families to hire until now. Given the importance of holidays and spending time outdoors to the physical and mental well-being of disabled children and their families, as advocated by disability charities such as Scope and the Disabled Children’s Partnership, there was a clear gap to be filled.

Iris is the vision of Jemima Alexander and Cody Selby, parents of two girls, the eldest of which is medically complex, has sensory impairments and is a wheelchair user. Using their understanding of the accessibility issues families face when trying to take a holiday, they have designed a cosy, well-equipped and thoughtful space that aims to take as much stress out of holidays and stays away from home as possible.

The five-berth campervan (four adults and one child) has been designed with meticulous attention to detail, always with the needs and comfort of the family and child in mind. A luxurious yet simple campervan, the heating and light can be easily controlled, with plentiful storage and the flexibility for beds to be height adjustable or even removed depending on the need. They also wanted to make off-grid experiences a reality for all, so Iris has an electrical system that allows even people who use overnight oxygen and ventilation the ability to sleep off-grid under the stars.

“We know that it is often the details that can make or break a holiday with a disabled child. We wanted families to be able to adjust light and temperature to suit their child, we wanted there to be a dark, safe space for children that may feel dysregulated, we wanted there to be low lights for parents changing their children’s pads or adjusting their equipment in the night,” explains Iris’s co-owner, Jemima.

“The Iris you see today has been designed, redesigned, and tweaked numerous times. Every decision has been thoroughly discussed, sometimes agonised over as we tried to include the needs of all the different families we hoped would be able to use Iris.

“The end result is a space that we believe is beautiful and practical and where the accessibility features blend seamlessly into the build. We hope that she will open up the world for many families like ours whether that’s being able to attend a wedding, go to a festival or go on a camping holiday.”

Other features of Iris include:

- Wheelchair fixings and ramps.

- Plentiful battery capacity.

- Multiple plug sockets.

- A spacious interior.

- Height adjustable beds to help protect backs when lifting a child in and out.

- A large fridge with freezer space.

- Nets to ensure that children don’t fall out of bed.

- A sensory space at the back of the van.

- An uncluttered space and a calm colour scheme.

- Generous storage.

- A quiet, effective heating system that can be minutely adjusted.

- Fans.

- Hot water.

- Soundproofing.

- Capacity for an outdoor hot water shower

“We are so proud to welcome Iris to the Quirky Campers family,” says David Ffrench, CEO, and co-founder of Quirky Campers. “Cody and Jemima have done a wonderful job with this van, which combines accessibility and comfort with high-quality finishes. We understand that holidays, having fun and simply getting outdoors are vital for the positive mental and physical health of children and young people with disabilities. Cody and Jemima have made that much easier for families. We’re looking forward to hearing about the special holiday experiences and memories that those families and their children create together with Iris.”

Having an accessible campervan available for hire is a natural and important next step for Quirky Campers, which launched Diversify Vanlife UK in 2021, in partnership with Diversify Vanlife, based in the US. Initially established as a digital platform on Instagram (here), it has evolved into a diverse and inclusive community for POC, GRT, plus-sized, disabled, LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented individuals in the vanlife community to be heard and celebrated.

Iris is located in Bristol, an ideal base for exploring the city and surrounding regions. It is a short drive from Wales and the Bannau Brycheiniog/Brecon Beacons, Gower, and Pembrokeshire. Nearer by, are the Wye Valley, the Forest of Dean, the Cotswolds and the Mendips. Holidaymakers could also head south into Devon and Cornwall.

Quirky Campers was launched by husband and wife team, Lindsay and David Ffrench in 2010, starting with renting out their own campervan, Bella, while they were travelling in Kenya. The family owned business acts as an agent for a collection of friendly and like-minded campervan owners, each with a vehicle that they have lovingly created and want to share with the world.

The business also supports people to convert their own vans with an extensive network of Quirky Approved converters who can help; and has a dedicated campervan sales page on the website as well.

Quirky Campers can be picked up from various locations across the UK. Prices include fully comprehensive insurance and booking fees and many are pet-friendly.

For more information on Accessible Iris, visit the Quirky Campers website.


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