Calvert Trust Exmoor
Founded in 1976 The Calvert Trust allows people with disabilities to enjoy outdoor activities in safe and accessible, yet challenging environments. The charity has a Centre on the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake in the heart of the Lake District National Park, on the edge of Exmoor National Park and at Kielder, Northumberland.
The activities and services they offer are accessible to people of all ages who have sensory, learning or physical disabilities and, somewhat uniquely, they are able to accommodate people with the most complex needs.
We first partnered with them in 2017 by providing an accessible bike fleet and in 2018 they became one of our respite partners supported through a £30K bursary (£10K to each Centre) to assist individuals to fund the cost of a respite break.
2019 has also seen us make a grant of £50K to The Lake District Centre to support them with the cost of building a new residential unit to help those with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).
A recent visitor to the Exmoor Centre was 14 year old Gemma. Gemma has cerebral palsy and is a full-time wheelchair user. She had visited Calvert Trust Exmoor before her recent stay but our award of a bursary allowed her to visit again!
Mum, Debbie, was keen for Gemma to be able to take part in activities that would challenge her and to which there would be no barriers as a wheelchair user. Moreover, Gemma, as a sociable child, was keen to make new friends in an inclusive environment. Debbie was delighted to tell us about their stay.
Debbie said: “There was no onlooking for Gemma. Even as a full-time wheelchair user all activities were achievable! She was unsure of doing the climbing at first but watched the others and then gave it a go herself. The reward was ringing the bell at the top and a big cheer from the rest of the group! She was so pleased with herself.
Archery, with the adapted bow, was amazing. Gemma concentrated well at this and was delighted with her success. One of her favourite things however was going fast on the bikes and she kept telling me to pedal faster! I enjoyed this activity, too. It was a lovely afternoon around the reservoir with our group. In fact, one of the real highlights of the weekend for Gemma, being the sociable girl that she is, was the people she spent her time with.
We also enjoyed the canoeing which, with the hoist, was fully accessible and Gemma was able to take part in challenges on the lake and she enjoyed spotting the wildlife. It’s such a beautiful location. Having access to the hydrotherapy pool and sensory room meant there was time to relax after a day of activities.
It was a brilliant weekend! Gemma enjoyed every moment of it, whether cheering others on during activities, in the forest learning bush craft skills and toasting marshmallows over the fire, partying at the disco in the evening or just having meals together.
Mike Gray, Calvert Trust Exmoor’s Chief Executive Officer said:
“The Edward Gostling Foundation’s generous award is helping more people with disabilities to come and take part in our adventurous and challenging activities. It’s heartwarming to see our visitors accomplish more than they ever dreamed possible and we’re very grateful for the Foundation’s support in making that happen”.