Calvert Trust Exmoor and the people it helps
In March 2012, Lizzie Tench was out cycling with her partner when she was struck by a trailer being towed by a four-wheel-drive vehicle. She suffered multiple injuries including spinal cord damage which left her paralysed from the waist down. A few months later, when at her lowest ebb, she visited Calvert Trust Exmoor with the Back Up Trust. “My stay at Calvert Trust Exmoor was the turning point. I realised that life wasn’t over and there was still so much I could do.”
Lizzie went on to become the British Paratriathlon champion in 2016, won Silver at the World Championships, and competed for England at the Commonwealth Games.
We firmly believe it’s what you can do that counts here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, and we do everything we can to enable everyone to experience exciting, challenging and fun outdoor activities together – regardless of age or ability – to help build confidence, strengthen bonds and create lifelong memories.
We are one of three specialist centres across the UK that exist to provide exceptional adventure holiday experiences for people with all types of disabilities to enjoy alongside their family and friends. Our unique location on the edge of Exmoor National Park, with direct access to Wistlandpound Reservoir, provides everything for an enjoyable adventure activity holiday on one fully-accessible site, which means no unnecessary travelling between accommodation and activities, and more time to enjoy what the centre has to offer.
Warren and Claire Gee brought their son Lucas, who has Global Development Delay and sensory processing disorder which means he is non-verbal, and daughter Molly to Calvert Trust Exmoor for the first time in 2017:
“It was brilliant to have an opportunity to do something different together that we wouldn’t normally get to do. We all enjoyed it together. Lucas loved everything, especially the horses and crate stack. His face lit up doing the different activities. Although he’s non-verbal, we could see he was enjoying it, he was very smiley and laughed a lot. Since coming back from Calvert Trust Exmoor, Lucas has seemed more ‘chilled’. We are already planning our next trip to the centre!”
Everything at Calvert Trust Exmoor is designed and equipped with accessibility in mind. We welcome people with all types of mental, physical, learning, behavioural and sensory disabilities, along with their family, friends and carers.
Lynn is a frequent visitor with daughter Daisy, who has Down Syndrome:
“Children with a disability get labelled; the majority of people see the disability first. At Calvert Trust Exmoor it’s different – they look at the person first, and they adapt to meet that person’s needs. It’s lovely to see people come here thinking ‘I can’t do anything’ and they go out and achieve so much.”
Our highly qualified, specially trained instructors take each group through a varied programme of activities that can be tailored to suit individual needs using our specially adapted equipment and techniques. What’s more, each group is allocated an instructor for the duration of their stay, allowing them to get to know each other and providing the continuity that is so important to so many of our guests, particularly those with autism or Down Syndrome.
Claire brought her son Scott to Calvert Trust Exmoor after discovering us online. Scott has autism and his behavior is unpredictable so Claire normally finds it difficult to get him out and about. Claire was amazed to find them riding bikes together, rock climbing and learning to cook on an open fire, that very same weekend!
“We both relaxed, and it allowed us to rebuild our relationship. It felt very safe there. We are both more positive, with lots of ideas to try, and a changed approach to life.”
At the end of a fun-packed day of activities, there are plenty of opportunities to relax and take some time out: take in spectacular views over the grounds and reservoir from the luxury of the Acland Suite, relax in the swimming pool and Jacuzzi, or enjoy some time out in our sensory room.
With widened doors & corridors, grab bars, level-access shower rooms, electric doors and lifts to the upper floors, our five-star accommodation is formally accredited by the Visit England National Accessible Scheme as being suitable for part-time, assisted and independent wheelchair users; visually impaired and hearing impaired guests; and older or less mobile guests. We also have a wide range of specialist adaptive equipment available to make a stay with us as comfortable as possible.
Adam has Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC), Global Developmental Delay, sensory processing difficulties, and physical difficulties that means he uses a wheelchair. Adam is also non-verbal. His mum Sally and her partner Mark brought Adam to Calvert Trust Exmoor last year:
“I can’t put into words how much this break has meant to us, we had the most amazing week. Adam did activities we never thought possible and we have shared so many special moments that I will treasure forever; being in a sailing boat, alone with just Adam with no restraints or chair, was very special.
“It is truly a very special place, somewhere we could be ourselves and celebrate Adam’s differences instead of apologising for them.”
Read more of our guest stories here: https://calvertexmoor.org.uk/case-studies/