The centre will be re-opening from Friday 21st August, but with some changes in-line with Government guidance.
Please be aware…
- We are actively contacting those with bookings before the 21st August to re-arrange visits. Please bear with us if we haven’t reached you yet.
- Any day visits for riding lessons or swimming sessions will currently not be taking place. As soon as it is safe to re-start these activities we will let you know.
- Phone 01598 763221 or email email@example.com with any questions you may have. To receive updates directly, sign up to our newsletter.
A message to all our guests from Andrew Laming, Centre Director…
“I am delighted to be able to announce that we will be in a position to start welcoming guests again from late August. As we slowly move out of lockdown, restrictions are eased and tourism starts to pick up all over the country, Calvert Trust Exmoor is working hard to ensure it is ready to safely welcome guests back to the hills of Exmoor and beaches of North Devon on Friday 21st August.
The team is currently working on best practices to ensure the safety of our guests, and are making sure procedures are in place so your stay is as safe and carefree as possible.
We know how important adherence to good hygiene and safe distancing practices is but with some amendments to the usual timetable, we know that you will still have a fantastic experience when you stay with us.
However, we have had to make some changes to be able to open. Some activities may not be able to operate, for example at the time of writing this the hydrotherapy pool is not allowed to open but restrictions are changing regularly and we will look to open all facilities as soon as it can be safely done.
For those activities that are operating, they will be managed very carefully to ensure maximum safety for all concerned. Activity group sizes will be smaller with the capacity of the centre limited. There may be changes to the way the canteen operates and guests will almost certainly be expected to stay in their ‘bubbles’ for the duration of their stay.
We very much look forward to seeing our guests again from the 21st August onwards and although things may be slightly different we are confident that this will not stop you enjoying the Calvert experience and having the time of your lives.
If you do have any questions at all regarding what to expect then please do contact one of the team on 01598 763221 who will be only too happy to answer any questions.”
The Calvert Trust Exmoor centre is right in the heart of North Devon, surrounded by green fields, forests, and the best that nature has to offer.
But if you look around the north of Devon, there is so much more to enjoy alongside our activities and the views of Wistlandpound Reservoir.
Here’s why we love North Devon, showcasing how an accessible break at Calvert Trust Exmoor could feature so much more…
The obvious place to start, North Devon beaches are known to be some of the best in the UK for families, sunbathers and surfers.
Woolacombe beach regularly sits in Trip Advisor’s list of top 10 UK beaches, Croyde beach is well known to surfers, and Saunton Sands is popular for its long golden stretch of sand. These three beaches are each just a 30 to 40-minute drive from the centre.
There are many more hidden gems along the coastline too. The nearest beach to Calvert Trust Exmoor is at Combe Martin, 10 minutes away, and Lynmouth’s pebbled beach is 20 minutes away with spectacular views.
What makes the beaches in North Devon so popular is the fact that many are fully accessible for wheelchair users. There are ramps to the sand rather than steps, and specialist beach wheelchairs are available to hire: Tips for Hiring a Beach Wheelchair in North Devon.
In 2019, Calvert Trust Exmoor guests enjoyed surfing as an activity for the first time! Thanks to specialist surf instructors from Surf South West and The Wave Project, our disabled guests had fun catching some waves at Croyde.
Exmoor National Park
Exmoor is a National Park that’s shared between North Devon and Somerset. Anyone who spends time here will understand why Exmoor is our namesake, it’s one of the main reasons why we love North Devon and it’s right on our doorstep!
The Exmoor Ponies
Ponies, roaming free, what’s not to love?
The quiet, remote roads
If you love driving through the countryside and don’t mind winding roads, we certainly recommend driving through Exmoor when travelling to and from the centre. And if you’re not afraid to go off the beaten track, there are many quiet spots to take in the views. Find a perfect place to stop, relax and enjoy the moment.
You might even spot the abundance of Exmoor wildlife.
The unique Exmoor locations
If you’d like to visit a specific place, there are a few places to mention. The villages of Lynton and Lynmouth are a focal point of Exmoor, connected by a 130-year-old Cliff Railway – the world’s highest and steepest water-powered railway. Lynmouth, as mentioned, has a stone beach with a dramatic coastline and seaside town feel.
Valley of Rocks
Just outside Lynton is the Valley of Rocks, a dry valley that is a popular tourist destination, with feral goats and stunning views. The main path is easy to walk as it is flat and tarmacked, despite being narrow on the side of the cliff. It can be suitable for people with impaired mobility looking for a walk but is not recommended for wheelchairs due to lack of passing places.
Porlock is a quaint village in Exmoor that is popular with visitors, whilst Porlock Weir is a small but beautiful place by the water’s edge.
Inland, Simonsbath sits high on the moors, ideally located for walks and sightseeing. The tiny village is remote but is only a 15-minute drive from Calvert Trust Exmoor.
Meanwhile, the historic Tarr Steps are found 30 minutes from the centre. The walks around Tarr Steps are beautiful, walking alongside the river through the woods. Sadly the site is not that accommodating for wheelchair users due to its location and natural paths, but a visit would suit those looking for fresh clean air and to lose themselves in nature.
A wide range of attractions and days out
We’ve already spoken about Lynton and Lynmouth, but there are many towns and villages in North Devon to visit.
Barnstaple is the unofficial ‘capital’ of North Devon and is the place to shop popular high-street brands and independent retailers.
The seaside town of Ilfracombe is popular with guests who want to explore rockpools, see striking coastal views, enjoy an ice-cream and pick up some souvenirs. It’s also home of Verity, by Damien Hurst – the second tallest statue in the UK.
Both Barnstaple and Ilfracombe are a 20-minute drive from the centre.
Woolacombe and Croyde, aside from having their beaches, are also quaint little seaside towns. Plus, Saunton Sands is not far from Braunton, home of award-winning fish and chips.
Looking for an accessible day out for all the family? Not a problem in North Devon…
Exmoor Zoo – a small but complete zoo, just down the road from the Calvert Trust Exmoor centre. Home of wolves, cheetahs, African wild dogs, and many varieties of big cats including the famous Exmoor Beast – black leopards!
Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park – another family-friendly zoo with the added twist of electronic dinosaurs around the park. There is also an indoor soft play area for younger children. Animals include lions, penguins, and sea lions who take part in a daily show.
Quince Honey Farm – a unique attraction where visitors can discover more about bees, honey, and beekeeping. A visit can include beekeeping experiences, talks and tours, honey tasting, family crafts, activities critter encounters, and indoor play.
Arlington Court – a historic house and gardens, also found around the corner from the Calvert Trust Exmoor centre. Our guests choose to visit Arlington for walks through the grounds and to see the house and carriage museum. Trampers and shuttle buses are available for those who need them.
Please speak to a member of the Calvert Trust Exmoor team about visiting any of the places mentioned here, either over the phone or at reception, and we’ll do our best to provide more advice.
When visiting Calvert Trust Exmoor for an adventure break, there are several opportunities to explore North Devon…
Check-in is from 4pm, giving most of the day to see the views and attractions on the journey to us. Then on your final day, check-out is 10am, which frees up the rest of the day to do as you wish before heading home.
Many of our guests staying for a week-long break choose to take a day away from the centre, in between activities, to see more of North Devon and to have a wonderful day out.
For more information about how an accessible break in North Devon at Calvert Trust Exmoor, call 01598 763221.
Do you love North Devon as much as we do? Leave a comment on our social channels telling us what you love about the area…
Outdoor activities and exercise are something that can benefit everybody. They allow us to immerse ourselves in a natural setting, offering us experiences beyond our usual routine.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we believe adventure breaks are something that should be encouraged by all, and for all. Opportunities to try new experiences should be seen as a possibility for everyone, no matter their age or ability. We have been fortunate to witness many positive outcomes in the mental wellbeing of people who attend our residential trips, whether that be for a week or a short break.
It is believed that 1 in 4 people in the UK experiences a mental health problem each year, but disabled people report lower wellbeing levels than non-disabled people (according to these statistics).
It’s only natural that people may see dips in their mental wellbeing. So in this article, we will be focusing on the positive effects of outdoor adventures, and how this type of break can improve mental health, regardless of age or disability.
What Happens During an Adventure Break?
It is important to clarify what an adventure break with us involves. Calvert Trust Exmoor, in particular, is an accessible site which provides a variety of activities, for a range of abilities.
Canoeing, abseiling, cycling, horse-riding and archery are just a few of the activities which are accessible to our residence. We have specialist equipment which may not be commonly available elsewhere, allowing residents the opportunity to experience completely new activities.
Our five-star, fully accessible accommodation is tailored to each visitor, ensuring each guest only has to focus on making the most out of the exciting activities available. With all accessibility needs managed, visitors have the freedom to make friends in a safe environment which encourages them to try new experiences. Our dedicated and qualified instructors remain with the same group of residents throughout the week, forming trusted relationships and building self-confidence.
But how does this help improve mental health?
The Connection Between Physical Health and Mental Happiness
As most of us aware, there is a positive relationship between the completion of exercise and the improvement of mental wellbeing. Physical activity merged with the outdoors is especially relevant in terms of de-stressing and feeling calm. Adventure breaks combine physical exertion, a safe outdoor environment and specialised support all in one place.
In 2015, the campaign ‘Learning Away’ completed a review on the impact of an adventure residential for children with disabilities. It was reported many children felt the residential helped to improve their confidence. Around 80% of both Key Stage Two and Secondary school children felt they were more self-assured to attempt new things as a consequence of the adventure break. It is understood this was a result of positive feelings when completing activities which challenged social, leadership and learning skills.
Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on any number of elements that contribute to mental health issues. Research additionally shows that modest amounts of exercise on occasion also lifts our mental wellbeing – especially when done outdoors. We found a HelpGuide article that goes into this topic further.
The activities at Calvert Trust Exmoor naturally contain an element of physical exercise. When exercise is combined with fresh air, teamwork, friendships and a sense of accomplishment we start to understand how adventure breaks can improve mental health.
Feelings of Liberation When Completing Activities
It seems like a basic concept, but if you complete an exercise or activity, it demonstrates to yourself that you are competent. This feeling of competency is an inspiration to attempt other goals because dictating feelings of self-doubt have been overcome and replaced with the feeling of perseverance.
As a result of accomplishing adventure activities, many feel a sense of independence. This could be because we become open to doing activities and exercises that we may not regularly do. An effect of this is a freshly engaged mind and a fresh test of determination.
New activities encourage our guests, especially children, to practise communication and co-ordination skills, which in turn, reassures them to learn and be proud of what they are completing.
The Role of Sportsmanship and Inclusion During Activities
In many sports, and forms of exercise, sportsmanship plays a vital role. When trying new activities on your own, or as a team, adapting your competitive behaviour is a must.
Team events practised at adventure centres encourage participants to work together. The only way to succeed is to communicate efficiently and support other team members, considering each other’s ability and role in the group.
As a result, we see guests form lasting friendships which take into account one another’s diverse backgrounds and life experiences. This social networking is essential to create a sense of belonging, as well as educating them about social inclusion. Completing activities acts as a valuable reminder of effective socialisation and community building to refer back to.
The feeling of social inclusion is another important element in building up our mental wellbeing and health.
Attending an adventure break is an opportunity for us all to experience something beyond what we are familiar with.
For some, it is an avenue to demonstrate they have other talents and skills beyond everyday life, and sparks inspiration or motivation to do other things. For others, the physical exercise of activities provides a physical and mental boost.
Adventure breaks can improve confidence as they validate the success of new activities in a friendly social group. It also acts as a reassurance that learning something new affects everybody, no matter who you are.
It all adds up to contribute to and improve mental wellbeing. Especially when visits to Calvert Trust Exmoor include everything needed for a wonderful break, removing the worries of taking a holiday.
Read our Guest Stories for real-life examples of how adventure breaks have helped improve general wellbeing
See the full Calvert Experience for all the details on accessible adventure breaks at Calvert Trust Exmoor. You can book a stay today by calling 01598 763221.
Life has been tough for many recently, especially for people with disabilities and their families and carers.
After weeks of lockdown and with the future still uncertain, it’s only natural to be struggling, worried and scared.
The Government is saying we are ‘past the peak’ of the Covid-19 outbreak – so it’s vital that now, more than ever, we all continue to look after ourselves and loved ones to see us through the rest of the pandemic.
With that in mind, we have rounded up some resources that we think will help us all come to terms with the Coronavirus outbreak so far and provide further support in the future.
IT’S GOOD TO TALK
Elefriends – an online community to message others for support
MeeToo – a messaging online community for young people
TalkLife – another online community to support mental health
For general advice on looking after your mental health and overall wellbeing, visit the Mind website
TALK WITH SOMEONE OVER THE PHONE
Call 116 123 – the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, no matter what you are going through
GENERAL ADVICE AND RESOURCES
Practical information and emotional support, from Coronavirus to general health, by Scope
The Fragile X Society has tips for staying at home
Advice and Q&A’s for families caring for seriously ill children, by Together for Short Lives
Coping with the pandemic for people with autism and families from the National Autistic Society
Useful resources and support for children and young people with brain injury by The Children’s Trust
Down’s Syndrome Association have a bank of resources for all
The Challenging Behaviours Foundation have their own resources for people with severe learning disabilities
An interactive map for local mutual aid groups
The latest Coronavirus information relating to SEND families with helpful resources
Staying well when social distancing thanks to Royal College of Occupational Therapists
‘How to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak’ from Swings & Smiles
Toolkits for play for children with complex needs, making play inclusive with Sense
10 ways to keep your child with complex health needs safe – by Well Child
Disability Challengers have brought together a lot of useful resources for staying at home
Signhealth – The Deaf Health Charity, provides daily updates on Coronavirus with sign language, along with lots of videos containing helpful advice
The NSPCC has a page dedicated to supporting children with SEND
For financial advice specifically for ill or disabled people, start with this page by The Money Advice Service
If you feel we’ve missed something that should be featured here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions. Thank you.
We understand that at this difficult time and during the current circumstances, every day is particularly challenging for everyone and not just for our Calvert Exmoor family.
But due to the closing of the centre, we have launched an urgent appeal to ensure that the 12 very special horses and ponies who live at Calvert Trust Exmoor can continue to be looked after on-site, no matter what is going on in the outside world.
Like many other places, we have experienced a drastic fall in income due to Covid-19. We have had to ask our brilliant stables team and instructors to make personal sacrifices to reduce costs, but this still isn’t enough. We need your support to ensure the stables can continue to operate now and in the future.
The horses and ponies need your help!
If you do feel you can make a contribution towards our stables appeal:
Please visit our Just Giving page to quickly and easily donate online…
Or you can call us on 01598 763 221 (if you are unable to get through, please be patient and try again soon)
Or send a cheque, with a note mentioning your donation is for the stables, to:
Calvert Trust Exmoor
With your support, we can keep all the horses and ponies happy and healthy.
We need your help now more than ever to ensure that we can continue to care for these unique animals throughout this crisis and beyond when we look forward to welcoming our guests and visitors back.
From the stables staff and the whole centre – thank you!
North Devon is inundated with beautiful beaches and stunning countryside. With so many picturesque locations to choose from, selecting a coastal stroll can be a challenging task!
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are dedicated to providing accessible outdoor adventure activities in Devon. Proud of our beautiful surroundings, we have put together advice when hiring a beach wheelchair or carriage for some of the top locations in the area for your next trip!
The North Devon Coast
In recent years, our glorious county has been a part of some incredible projects, including the Countryside Mobility Scheme. This non-profit organisation aims to ensure that the South West countryside is made accessible for all visitors. With their influence and the impact of other dedicated, individual companies, many places in the area now have available beach wheelchairs and carriages, a mixture of both manual and electrical.
How to Locate a Beach Wheelchair or Carriage
Wherever you are on holiday, the first port of call should be the tourist information centre in the location you want to access. Here, you will be able to find out about the accessible opportunities in the area as well as how to hire any available equipment.
Local Accessible Beaches
As we have mentioned, our location in North Devon is fortunate to have a few trampers, wheelchairs and carriages available at local beach locations. Below, we will discuss each location and how you can get hold of one.
About Croyde Bay
Croyde beach is a small surfers paradise situated just up from Saunton Sands. This lovely bay tends to attract surfers from across the country and offers surf lessons for anyone willing to have a go! Calvert Trust Exmoor are currently partnered with the Wave Project and Surf South West to provide one to one surf lessons to our guests in Croyde. If you are curious, why not discover the benefits of surfing for people with a disability in our blog?
Croyde is recognised as having disability access. However, similar to Saunton Sands, the entrance consists of a lot of soft sand which makes wheelchair access harder.
We have provided two of our own beach wheelchairs for the Wave Project and Surf Southwest which contribute to the accessibility of guests and students learning to surf at Croyde beach.
Wheelchairs & Carriages Available – 5
About Saunton Sands
Saunton Sands is a stunning landscape three and a half-miles of warm, golden sands. Not far from the town of Braunton, the beach is home to the beautiful dunes known as the Braunton Burrows which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The beach features accessible amenities including two accessible toilets made available through the RADAR national key scheme. The car park hosts seven disabled car parking spaces. If these spaces fill up, the car park attendants are on hand to ensure another suitable space is found, and access to the beach is supported.
The entrance to the beach consists of very soft sand, which can prove to be challenging for wheelchairs, as well as a slightly steep ramp leading down to the sand.
However, Saunton Sands is home to a few beach wheelchairs and carriages located at the Saunton Sands Beach Shop. They are suitable for both adults and children and the range includes :
• Three Landeez beach wheelchairs
• Two NOMAD all-terrain carriages
How to Hire at Saunton Sands
To hire one of the trampers or carriages, please call the Saunton Sands Beach Shop on (01271) 890771.
During the summer, advanced booking is recommended due to the popularity of Saunton beach, especially when the school holidays begin.
The trampers can be hired for:
• Half a day
• A full day
• Or on a weekly basis
Two of the wheelchairs at Saunton Sands have been provided by the Calvert Trust Exmoor site.
Electric Wheelchairs Available – 1
About Woolacombe Bay
Woolacombe Bay is another dreamy coastal location, and host to a glorious landscape of golden sands. Extremely popular in the summer months, Woolacombe village is inundated with visitors and encompasses a lovely, fun atmosphere.
Accessible toilets are available in the village, and the beach is recognised as having easy disabled access, with a ramp that leads to the beach. However, soft sand can dominate the entrance of the beach when the tides are low. An electric beach wheelchair is available to hire from the Woolacombe Tourist Information Centre.
There are a couple of routes you can follow off the beach too, which go through the atmospheric sand dunes, also known as Woolacombe Warren. Be sure to look out for the rabbits which roam the area!
How to Hire at Woolacombe Bay
Due to the popularity of Woolacombe, booking ahead of time is thoroughly recommended. You can either call 01271 870553 or e-mail email@example.com.
To hire the beach wheelchair, you automatically become a member of the Countryside Mobility, which has an annual fee of £10.00. Alternatively, you can try a £2.50 two week ‘Taster Membership’.
Once a member of Countryside Mobility, you are allowed to use the available trampers at any of the 36 sites in the South West.
A donation of £5 per session is also encouraged.
Electric Wheelchairs Available – 2
About Lundy Island
Situated 12 miles off the Devon coast, taking the trip to Lundy is a main desire of many tourists who come to the North Devon area. The raw and natural landscape of the island is immense and the wildlife is spectacular. Though rare to see, both deer and puffin inhabit the island.
If you are lucky, you might see one of Lundy’s famous seals! They usually like to hang around the rocks near the harbour.
An exciting location to explore, Lundy Island has two electric wheelchairs available for hire. Both travel to the island, and staying overnight, can prove to be quite tricky and for some, it may not be possible. Before booking, both these aspects need to be researched and heavily considered.
How to Hire at Lundy Island
Booking in advance is essential to ensure someone is available to assist once the boat has docked on the island.
The electric wheelchairs are available for day hire. However, you will already need to be a Countryside Mobility member due to the reduced staffing on the island and the requirement of tramper induction for new members.
Hire will cost £20 for a full day and £50 for a week.
National Trust Wheelchairs and Accessibility
Not necessarily beach related, but the National Trust is responsible for many popular walks and attractions in the North Devon area. A few places include:
The National Trust can hire out accessible wheelchairs at specific locations.
For more information on accessible places in Devon, take a look at our blog which selects our favourite National Trust sites in the area.
How to Hire at the National Trust
If you are interested in visiting a National Trust site and require an accessible wheelchair, it is recommended to ring the place to check for wheelchair availability. Contact details for each site are provided on the National Trust website.
Availability will depend on the individual location, and you may need to check if the wheelchairs can be used throughout the year or are seasonal.
Wheelchair hire is usually part of the Countryside Mobility Scheme, which means you will need to be a member.
The National Trust Essential Companion Card
The Essential Companion Card is also worth mentioning in regards to the National Trust. It is for people who require carers and allows one or two companions to join you on the trip for free. They will be free regardless, but it makes the entry process much smoother and quicker.
Hopefully, we have shared with you some useful information about hiring beach wheelchairs and carriages in North Devon so you can make the most of your next beach holiday. When are you next visiting the coast? We would love to know! Tell us on our social media channels.
If you are interested in the accessible activity breaks we have to offer, please feel free to contact us on 01598 763221 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is not unusual to feel anxious when you are in an unfamiliar setting and situation. It is an entirely acceptable feeling, no matter what your age or who you are.
It is important to remember, if you do feel these emotions, they do not have to remain with you throughout your adventure break. There are small but helpful things you can do to improve how you perceive your new situation.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are dedicated to providing accessible breaks for everyone to enjoy, from school residentials to holidays for people with disabilities. We want to make sure that every one of our guests has the best experience possible, so have created this blog to help you.
Who Can Benefit From This Advice?
We have created these tips for everyone to try if they are ever feeling anxious when they are away from home.
If you are an independent adult on an accessible adventure break, we hope you can refer to this blog to help you if you are feeling unsure.
If you are a carer or a parent with a child of any age, who is about to embark on a residential adventure, we hope we can help you with ideas on how to alleviate their feelings of anxiety.
Accept How You Are Feeling
It is ok to feel a bit on edge when you are away from home, even if you are only down the road! It is a feeling that can primarily occur when your usual daily routines have had to change for the duration of your trip.
Begin by identifying the feelings of unease and accepting them for what they are. It is important to remind yourself that it is completely fine and natural to feel this way when you are away from what you know.
Talk To Someone About How you Feel
Once you have accepted how you currently feel, let someone else know. Whether they are:
• A staff member, such as an instructor
• A family member
• A friend you have gone on the adventure break with
• A teacher
• A carer
You never know, they may feel similar and appreciate that you have confided in them! You can talk about what you love back at home and how they might also like it if they ever come to visit.
It may break the ice for those you do not know so well too.
Remember You Can Call Home
Living in the 21st-century means you are never too far from home! With mobile phones, social media, Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp, staying in touch couldn’t be easier.
If you would like to ring home and talk about things, go for it! There is no shame in letting your nearest and dearest know about how you are doing. They will be able to see the situation from the outside and remind you of all the amazing reasons you wanted to go in the first place.
Talking to your family members will reassure your anxiety that everything back home is ok and you aren’t missing out on anything. Their jolly voices will let you know they are happy and healthy.
Put Things Into Perspective
Once you have accepted and communicated how you feel, it is time to try and gently shift your perspective on the experience.
You feel anxious, and that is completely acceptable. And it is also ok to feel worried but still want to make the most of your opportunity away from home.
Think about the initial reasons why you wanted to come. What activities did you want to try? Were they as you expected them to be? How did it feel to do them? What highlights will you share when you get back home?
Record Your Feelings
Noting down your feelings can be as effective as talking for some people.
You could think about:
• What were the highlights of the day? You could break down the day into morning, afternoon and evening and reflect what you enjoyed the most at each point.
• What challenges did you face today?
• How could the situation be different next time?
Good or bad, it is all acceptable to note down!
Perhaps you will revisit your thoughts in your journal, or perhaps you won’t, it doesn’t matter! Similar to talking, it is just good to get the feelings out in the open so you can move forward and take each day as it comes.
Try to Be Social, Even If You May Not Feel Like It
When you feel uncomfortable, the idea of talking with new people can feel incredibly daunting.
If you are on a trip without company from home, or with people you do not know so well, it is essential to ensure you do not isolate yourself, especially if you are not in the most positive of mind frames.
By socialising, it will feel like a massive achievement in itself and may instantly lift your mood. Many adventure breaks have social areas for guests to interact with. Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we have numerous social areas for our guests to relax in including, The Barn bar, the games room and our stunning courtyard for warmer weather.
You never know who you are going to meet, so try your best to keep an open mind even though this is easier said than done. You may make a friend for life, all starting with a simple hello!
Keep Social Goals Attainable
If you are a shy person, keep your social goals small and achievable, so you don’t feel too overwhelmed. Try meeting one person, to begin with. Listening is an admirable trait in people, so try this at first and see where you go!
Get Out Your Comfort Zone
When you feel like you miss home, try and reflect back to why you wanted to go on your adventure break and the activities you envisioned yourself trying. Speak to your instructor about your feelings, so they can encourage and reassure you to try all the experiences you thought you would try before you felt anxious on the trip.
Bring Familiar Things With You
Bringing something special to you from home is a popular thing to do.
It could be a much-loved photo, a cuddly toy, some sweet treats or a cushion. Anything that brings you comfort, don’t be afraid to take it with you.
For parent or carers whose children are going on a residential trip away, why not ask your child what they would like to take with them? Take a look at our blog on how to get your child excited for a residential trip for some other handy hints and tips!
Have you ever felt homesick when you were on an adventure break? What helped you? We would love to know! Why not let us know on our social media channels?
According to a Government survey in 2017, the UK is considered as the loneliest country throughout Europe. For people who have severe hearing impairments or are Deaf, social isolation and loneliness can, unfortunately, feel like a regular occurrence.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we provide a range of adventure holidays for people with disabilities, and we want to promote awareness as much as we can to create a more considerate environment. In this article, we are going to explore what isolation is and why people who have hearing conditions or are Deaf can feel isolated.
Who Can Experience Feelings of Isolation?
Everyone can feel isolated at some point in their lives as isolation can occur as a result of various reasons and situations.
For example, if you have ever felt like you haven’t been adequately understood or acknowledged in a social situation, this can leave you feeling like you are ‘unrelatable’. Feeling like you are not accepted through communications can create a sense of unease within yourself. Eventually, feelings like this can push you away from people if they happen often.
For some people, these feelings of loneliness and misunderstanding can develop into more significant feelings of isolation, and in some cases, contribute to mental health illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.
For people who have disabilities, living in a world where their needs are not considered or viewed as significant, can easily lead to the feeling of isolation. Furthermore, if people cannot communicate with others in a reliable way, such as through sign language, people can feel very alone and unsupported.
Why Can Deaf People Feel Isolated?
Human interaction and support are aspects of the world which make life more comfortable and enjoyable. However, when the ability to hear and freely express your thoughts to the rest of the world is not consistently possible, this can put people in the position of isolation.
It is understood that Deafness is the third most prevalent disability on the planet. However, due to its ‘invisible’ appearance, the needs of people who have a hearing impairment or are Deaf are often overlooked in day to day life.
SignHealth charity has revealed that mental health illnesses such as anxiety and depression are ‘twice as likely’ to effect deaf people, in comparison to those who are of hearing.
The Skill of Lip Reading
Many people who are Deaf or have a hearing impairment rely on lip-reading to remain in conversations with those who can hear. It has been expressed that this requires a lot of concentration to ensure they can read the situation visually as well as trying to pick up as much sound as possible. Understandably, this can use a lot of energy.
For some people who have hearing impairments or Deafness, it can also create feelings of vulnerability. Accessing relevant information can be difficult, causing anxiety, especially in times of emergency. For example, the stress of making sure you are aware of any emergency alarms despite not being able to hear. These types of worries can often leave people feeling alone and in fear in an unpredictable world without secure communications.
The British Deaf Association
Ensuring that the UK has integrated sign language into daily communications is something that the British Deaf Association are passionate about. Much of their work is to promote accessible information. They believe that by spreading awareness of British and Irish Sign Languages, we should be able to achieve equality for Deaf people over time, encouraging equal opportunities for everyone. For more information, please take a look at their website
How Can You Be More Deaf Aware?
Sign language would be an incredibly positive skill to have when communicating with someone who is Deaf or has a hearing impairment. If you would like more information about sign language, why not look at our blog on the Different Types of Sign Language in the UK which provides details on how you can access a course.
However, if sign language is something you haven’t learnt yet, there are some other tips that the charity Action On Hearing Loss recommend. The tips are based on those individuals who use the skill of lip reading.
Address the Person
Ensure the person knows you are addressing them by politely attracting their attention. Avoid doing this from an angle where they cannot see, as this can cause alarm.
Choose a Quiet Setting
If you can, try and communicate in an environment that has minimal noise. If the area is well lit, this is even better.
Make Sure Your Face Is Visible
Ensure your face can be clearly seen so your lips can be read with more ease. When you speak, don’t look away or cover your mouth.
Talk how you typically talk but make sure not to rush your speech and check that you are being understood. Try to avoid exaggerated speaking as this can make lip patterns distorted. And remember to look friendly and approachable still!
Don’t Move On If You’re Not Understood
If you haven’t communicated effectively, don’t say ‘it doesn’t matter’ and try to move on. Instead, attempt to say it in another way.
Ensure Your Voice is Down
For those who have a hearing aid, a raise in voice can be uncomfortable.
Always Speak Directly to the Person
In the situation where someone may have a sign language interpreter or another form of communication support, ensure you are addressing them and not the interpreter.
Hopefully, we have provided you with some background information on social isolation. If you have any tips or useful information, you would like to share with us, and others, concerning this article, please contact us on our social media platforms.
Being active is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Not only are there distinct physical advantages, but the NHS website expresses how exercising consistently is proven to improve feelings of self-esteem.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we promote a can-do attitude and aim to encourage all our visitors to achieve their heart’s desires. As a result, we have selected some of the top sites online where users can search for local activity and sports clubs across the UK.
Whether you would like to try swimming, bowling, football, tennis, surfing or any sport, these sites can share with you the accessible activities available in your area. Take a look at our blog on the Five Benefits of Surfing for People With a Disability for more information on this unique activity and discover the fantastic work led by the Wave Project!
ParalympicsGB has created the Parasport website alongside Toyota. Their goal is in ‘making movement better for everyone.’
The site has been produced in the hope of becoming the largest inclusive, online community which shares valuable information about sporting opportunities across the country. It shares not only information about offered sports, but also a place to read up on the stories and accomplishments of people who have joined exercise groups and clubs.
With an emphasis that everyone should have equal opportunities in trying the sports they want to, they promote that everyone can find an activity that they can enjoy!
What the Site Offers:
Parasport can be used as a search engine to discover available sports across the UK. They also share information about upcoming events regarding accessible activities and provide an online community for those involved, or would like to be involved, in sporting events and clubs.
The Parasport website also has a section of suggestions for sports you can try for inspiration. Each sport featured has a general summary of what to expect, as well as some handy tips on things to take along to a session.
They offer information on the amenities of local leisure centres too.
The NHS provides users with a trove of information for health issues, including both mental health and physical health matters. It offers advice on symptoms and how to get help where necessary.
The Live Well section of the site can provide you with tips for eating better, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising tips, how to improve sleep patterns as well as support for issues with substances such as alcohol.
What the Site Offers:
The NHS provides an online guide for improving your levels of exercise. The advice includes tips on:
• How to build exercise into your day
• A search for events and activities
• A list of disability sports and associations
• A list of national bodies
Here you can search for clubs and forums nationwide and see what there is on offer, while learning about little changes you can make to improve your lifestyle.
Para Dance UK
‘Everyone can dance!’ is the motto of Para Dance UK! The charity is the national governing body for the sport for Para Dancing throughout the country.
UK wheelchair dancing is believed to have been developed in Scotland in the late 1960s. While people were learning how to move their wheelchairs, it was here that it was realised it could be done to music.
In the 70s, the Wheelchair Association began, and in 2006 the co-founders of the charity started the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (UK), also known as the WDSA (UK). Under the influence of the International Paralympic Committee who rebranded the sport internationally to Para Dance, the WDSA (UK) also adjusted their name in 2017, creating Para Dance UK.
Their goal is to ensure that the sport is promoted in the UK and encouraged as an accessible activity for all to enjoy, especially for those who feel like dancing is something they might not be able to participate in.
What the Site Offers:
The site supplies an in-depth look into the history of the sport, which makes for a fascinating read. They are a source of information for budding dancers by offering information on how they can get involved. The site provides a directory which can ‘Find A Group’ in your local area through merely entering your postcode.
You can also discover a course that Para Dance UK provide and read up on dance competitions.
Activity Alliance is focussed on making sure we all live the most active we possibly can, no matter our abilities. They provide help to other organisations across a range of sectors so they can support the needs of disabled individuals and create inclusive environments.
It is their mission to change their perceptions of what disabled people can achieve and want to make the UK a more comprehensive country.
They work with places such as leisure centres and local and national groups by offering additional support such as:
• Inclusion programmes
What the Site Offers:
The site offers information on inclusive gyms in your area which have been made possible through the Inclusive Fitness Initiative, IFI. This scheme has run for a number of years and has created inclusive gyms and leisure centres by ensuring they are accessible.
You can also search for information on current events and happenings in your local area.
The help doesn’t stop there, as they also provide a ‘Beginners Guide’, with handy hints and tips for those just starting out.
Council for Disabled Children – Transition Information Network
The Transition Information Network (TIN) is an organisation set up by the Council for Disabled Children.
The inspiration behind TIN is to ensure that disabled children have access to activities and sports, which could positively influence their lives.
The site offers a range of activities including:
• Social places
• Weekend clubs
• After school clubs
TIN believes that by encouraging children to join these local communities, they will make more friends and live a happier life.
What the Site Offers:
The site offers a list of activities to charities and groups in the following sectors:
• Clubs and Forums
• Short Breaks
Each area provides a link to the charities and groups within these sectors for individuals to try.
Hopefully, we have provided you with some helpful websites so you can choose a sport to begin! If you have any information on accessible groups and clubs in your local area, we would love to hear from you on our social media channels!
Calvert Trust Exmoor is an accessible site where we want everyone to enjoy themselves! If you require more information about the adventure breaks we offer and are interested in our programmes for Devon adventure activities, please feel free to contact us on 01598 763221 or e-mail us at email@example.com.
Tips for Choosing an Accessible Activity Holiday
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are dedicated to providing accessible holidays for everyone to enjoy. With this in mind, we have selected some hints and tips to help you choose your dream activity break.
Research What the Provider Means By the Term ‘Accessible’
When choosing an accessible holiday, it is essential to make sure the holiday provider is fully equipped to meet all your requirements.
Where a provider describes themselves as ‘accessible’, you may need to enquire into what facilities they have and if they are relevant to what you need.
One idea might be to check that showering facilities are fitted with any further aids needed. For example, a simple one would be a shower without a step.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, when we use the term accessible, we mean that our activities and accommodation are fully accessible, no matter the needs. We are equipped with specialist facilities which means we can ensure that all our guests are fully catered for, and all requirements are met.
Our accommodation is built to ensure all our guests receive ultimate comfort when staying with us and a selection of our bedrooms feature h-track ceiling hoists. We also provide other rooms with mobile hoists.
Please take a look at our accessibility statement for more information about our site facilities.
Consider the Location and the Activities You Would Like to Try
What you achieve on your holiday will likely depend on where the site is located and what is available in the area.
Perhaps you would like to try water-based activities? Would you prefer to be a travelling distance to the sea? Are you keen to learn some bushcraft skills? These desires need to be taken into consideration and locations chosen accordingly.
Our accessible site in Exmoor is situated in the perfect part of the country for a variety of activities. To name a few, they include :
• Water-based activities such as canoeing and sailing on the stunning Wistlandpound Reservoir
• Accessible cycling
• Abseiling and climbing in our indoor and outdoor facilities
• Equestrian sports in our indoor and outdoor arenas
• Swimming in our indoor heated pool or relax in our Jacuzzi
We are also in partnership with Surf South West and the Wave Project, based in the beautiful surf village of Croyde. This fantastic opportunity allows us to offer our guests one to one surfing lessons!
And don’t worry about the weather, we have a selection of rainy day activities for our guests to try, meaning that typical English drizzle will never get in the way of a fun-filled accessible activity break with us!
Ensure the Site Has a Focus on Providing High-Quality Staff
So much of an activity break is dependent on the joy and expertise provided by the instructors and staff at the site.
Making sure the site promotes professionalism and invests in employees with the skills required to ensure the safety of guests amongst their staff is essential.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are dedicated to safeguarding the welfare of children, young people, vulnerable adults and our staff.
To ensure this, our staff must comply with the following:
• Provide two satisfactory references
• Complete a satisfactory check by the Disclosure and Barring Service (previously names the CRB check)
• Complete a probationary period of at least three months
All our staff are fully qualified and have received specialised training. We like to allocate one continuous staff member to the activity group for the duration of the stay. This is so you can form a trusting relationship which ensures all needs are met so you can get the most out of your time with us!
Consider Your Leisure Time
After a busy day of activities, you may need a relaxing place to sit and unwind and to take some time out for yourself.
At our site, we have a selection of places for both socialising and relaxing. You can choose to hang out in:
• The Barn bar and games room
• The TV room
• The sensory room
• Our conservatory and dining rooms
• Our lovely courtyard garden
Looking into other little extras provided by the activity site, such as Wi-Fi, may also be worth researching, especially if you would like to contact home to tell everyone about your achievements!
At Calvert Trust Exmoor, our Wi-Fi is free and is available in Reception, the Barn Bar, the Acland Room and the Courtyard.
Think About if You Would Like a Fully Inclusive Stay
Consider what food requirements you need for your stay. For example, would you need meals supplied?
Furthermore, would you prefer everything to be onsite? Our accessible site in Exmoor provides a fully inclusive experience. The total price will include:
• All activities
• Food and drink
• The use of the swimming pool
• The use of the sensory room
• Evening entertainment
Some of our apartments are also complete with a kitchen. We can cater for a variety of circumstances such as residential trips, families and individuals. We also provide an onsite shop which can help out with any forgotten necessities, so you needn’t unnecessarily leave the site!
Check Reviews and Testimonies
It is always best to do your research before committing to a holiday! We would recommend taking the time to read the company’s reviews and testimonies on their website.
If you would like to know more about our guests’ experiences, take a look at our guest stories. Here you can see how the Calvert experience has provided accessible holidays for so many different guests, families, residentials and groups.
Hopefully, we have provided you with some helpful advice so you can book your next holiday!
If you have any other handy hints and tips, we would love to hear from you on our social media channels!
We are proud providers of charity holidays for the disabled in Devon and are committed to ensuring all our guests can achieve what they want on their stay. If you would like to know about the breaks we offer, we would love to chat with you! Please feel free to contact us on 01598 763221 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.