In 2018, over £50 million was raised by the Poppy Appeal. These donations help to care for both current and former members of the Armed Forces and their families. There are a variety of UK charities which have been set up to help former soldiers. The gov.uk website has a vast and useful list of charities in connection to veteran welfare and the service community. In this article, we have chosen a selection of charities which aim to support ex-service personnel who have suffered physical or mental trauma. The charities hold similar values to our own, to have accessibility for all.
Every year, Calvert Trust Exmoor welcomes war veterans for residentials at our five star, all accessible accommodation. For more information, take a look at our accessible holidays in Devon to find out what to expect when you stay with us.
The Royal British Legion- The Battle Back Centre
The Battle Back Centre was created in 2011 by the Royal British Legion. It was implemented to support injured members of the Armed Forces who were hurt while working in Iraq and Afghanistan. It focuses on providing accessible exercise and adventure activities in a safe space for servicemen and women to share and discuss their experiences while growing in confidence. It hopes to help introduce productive avenues for those who attend with their feelings of stress and anxiety. It has more recently developed wellbeing courses for veterans too.
Head to the Royal Legion website for more information or ring:
For serving personnel: 01952 815 670
For veterans: 01952 815681
Combat Stress has worked in supporting former members of the Armed Forces community to deal with the mental effects of their service for an impressive 100 years. It aims to help with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. It offers various specialist treatment and therapies in three different centres across the country. These include Ayrshire, Shropshire and Surrey and provide both residential and outpatient programmes as well as offering support for substance misuse. Furthermore, Combat Stress has introduced a Peer Support Service, a network created ‘by veterans for veterans’. It aims to provide a secure space for people to discuss their experiences with others who have been through similar situations and is an opportunity for ex-military to socialise comfortably.
A helpline for Combat Stress is available 24 hours a day throughout the year.
For veterans and their families: 0800 138 161
For serving personnel and families: 0800 323 4444
Text service is also available: 07537 404719
The Not Forgotten
The Not Forgotten is a charity which brings ex-service personnel together through social activities and holidays. Help is offered to anyone who has served or is currently serving in :
The Royal Navy
The Royal Marines
The British Army
The Royal Air Force
The Merchant Navy, both Regular and Reserve Forces
The charity aims to inspire confidence through physical tasks, which aim to challenge and inspire feelings of value and self-confidence. The charity also promotes the importance of socialising and creating friendships with fellow ex-service personnel.
To apply, head to the Not Forgotten website and fill in a general information form or print off and send in the post.
This charity has impressively supported for the Armed Forces for over 130 years. They pride themselves on their flexible services which they work hard to adjust and tailor to each individual to ensure help is as effective as possible. Working alongside other military charities, they are dedicated to providing those who seek support are efficiently looked after. These services include both physical and emotional care, including housing, finances, PTSD, addiction and relationship help.
To speak to a Forcesline advisor, telephone lines are available from Monday to Friday, 09:00- 17:30 on 0800 731 4880.
Help for Heros
Help for Heros is a well-known charity which offers support nationwide for those who have suffered an injury and illnesses while serving in the Armed Forces. They offer a recovery programme which has been developed alongside the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre which aims to either create the opportunity for veterans to live independently or for those who can, to successfully return to their military unit. The Stanford Hall Estate has been developed to make this possible and is a vital part of the programme. The H4H Veterans Clinical Advisor has been implemented to aid more advance injuries that require more complex treatment.
For further information about the support Help for Heros provides, please contact 0300 303 9888.
The NHS is not a charity, but it is worth looking into the help offered which is specific to ex-service personnel. They have a series of services which are designed to support the Armed Forces community across England. These include :
NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)
TILS was created to help servicemen and women transitioning from their service out of the Armed Forces. The aim is to prevent mental health issues developing further than the early stages by giving support promptly. Other affairs such as finance, employment and housing can also be offered.
NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS)
This could be considered as the next stage after TILS if initial treatment has not shown any signs of significant progress and used for more advanced mental health issues. It consists of intensive therapies and occupational and trauma-focused therapies to treat substance misuse and physical health, amongst other areas which need support.
If you are looking for adventure breaks in the Southwest of England, our accessible site is situated in the peaceful and soothing countryside of Exmoor. For more information on our location, take a look at our blog on Six Top Accessible National Trusts Site in Devon.
Residential trips are an exciting time for all involved. To ensure the trip goes according to plan, preparation is key! Here at the Calvert Trust, we have created a list of recommended items to pack. We have also provided some extra tips to make sure you know what to expect when attending an activity break. For some advice on how to gear your child up for a school residential in Devon, take a look at our blog on How to Get Your Child Excited for a Residential Trip for some helpful ideas!
Look at the Weather Beforehand
Even though the weather tends to be temperamental, having a little look at the forecast can give a general idea of what to expect! Say for example a heatwave is expected, stocking up on sun protection, hats and sunglasses will be essential!
How Much to Pack?
Ideally, you will need to pack enough items to last the duration of the trip, and to be on the safe side, a few extra provisions. Take into account the types of activities you will be experiencing and if any of them will need extra clothing. For example, if the weather is a bit drizzly and bushcraft is on the agenda, an extra pair of socks for that day may be necessary. This is especially relevant for water-based activities like canoeing and sailing as well. It’s not uncommon to pack extra underwear items too.
Don’t Forget Toiletries!
This includes hairbrushes and combs too! For girls, its best to ensure you have any feminine hygiene products regardless of what is expected, just in case. If you do forget, our onsite shop sells them too. For some ideas on what to take, have a look at this list:
The Magic of Layering
When it comes to moderating temperature, layering your clothing is an effective way to do this. Unless the weather is unusually cold, we recommend packing numerous thinner jumpers and tops which can be worn together and removed as temperature increases instead of one thick jumper.
Please include attribution to https://calvertexmoor.org.uk/ with this graphic.
SPELL has been created by the National Autistic Society as a guideline to help people communicate and understand the needs of people who are on the autistic spectrum. Here at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, we believe in making the world an accessible place for all. As a dedicated site that includes holidays for disabled visitors, we would like to spread awareness of autism to make life feel more accommodating for those who are affected by the disorder. In this article, we explain the SPELL structure and how it can help communications for those who have autism.
What is SPELL
SPELL has been created by integrating the five essential factors which have proven to be the most effective communicators for people with autism. SPELL aims to improve the lives of those with autism by providing surroundings that feel more considerate and approachable through accessible communications. It is a structure that can be applied throughout the autistic spectrum, such as Asperger syndrome.
SPELL is broken down into five letters, to explain the implications. These are:
Positive Approaches and Expectations
Below we will discuss each part more in-depth.
Providing a setting that feels structured, and doubtful of surprises, will help someone with Autism. The reason for this is because many people who have the condition do not react well to a change in routine.
Supplying information in a structured way is made easy with visual aids. These can be simple pictures and words of the daily routine, organised in a list. This can help someone with autism manage the expectations of the day by seeing them beforehand in a clear format. It can also help to reinstate a feeling of independence and control over a situation because expectations have been communicated, subsiding feelings of stress and nervousness.
Therefore, creating a safe and stable environment can significantly improve the overall wellbeing of someone with autism. Over time, when a routine is broken due to unavoidable change, someone with autism may be able to adapt to the changes due to the feelings of care from stability previously provided.
Positive Approaches and Expectations
By ensuring people feel encouraged and motivated to do well, progress can advance considerably for anyone who feels esteemed by positive comments and achievable goals. By creating realistic targets for people with autism, which are based on a thorough evaluation, a person can feel more confident through the recognition and development of the natural aptitudes of their personality.
For someone who has autism, this is incredibly important for them to feel a sense of accomplishment and the desire to further their abilities. The National Autistic Society states that many people who have autism struggle with verbal communication and therefore do not feel compelled to push themselves and progress in this proficiency. As a result of feeling of incompetent, the idea of trying something new is avoided even further. By practising how to overcome these scenarios, the sense of anxiety can be reduced. Eventually, people can acquire the ability to acknowledge new situations and set themselves higher goals that will support their overall wellbeing.
Empathy is a humans best route to understanding. By taking the time to think about how an individual with autism may see the world, it could potentially help you to unlock what may cause them anxiety as well as what may help them to communicate better. Those who are more successful in creating a trusting relationship with someone who has autism communicate in a relaxed, consistent, well humoured, logical and empathetic manner.
Environments should feel relaxed and well systematised to maintain a sense of focus and decrease the chance of distraction. This may include the level of volume in a room, smells, lighting, clear room layout and colour schemes. Any communications should remain clear enough so that they don’t overwhelm an individual. Some people with autism may need an increase of time to digest information, and this needs to be respected in any settings. Sensory rooms are used for those people who require extra support to feel calm. Each individual with autism will vary on this.
By viewing people with Autism and their support network as a unit, anyone who is significantly involved in their life such as parents, carers, siblings, teachers and medical professionals, should look to disperse information as a team to keep communications up. Parents should always be informed of all developments and situations, and are often viewed as partners. By keeping all involved on the same page, relevant information can flow, and any misinterpretations can be lessened.
Hopefully, this article has supported you in the understanding and the potential benefits of the National Autistic Society’s SPELL framework. If you would like more information about Autism, take a look at our article on Understanding Autism. Please take a look at our site for further information on our range of charity holidays for disabled people.
Going on holiday is an exciting time for all! If you are planning to travel with a person who has special needs, you may feel like travelling greater distances can come with challenges. Here at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, we feel that holidays for people with disabilities should be made achievable wherever possible. If you are planning a getaway with a family member or a friend who have special needs, we have some tips you can take to ensure a smoother journey!
Have Back-Up Plans and Precautions
As you would expect, planning well in advance and pre-planning any unexpected situations are hugely beneficial when trying to organise travel. Discussing all issues beforehand with all necessary participants is a must as you can decipher any vital problems with travelling and accommodate around them. Therefore, make sure you know what to do in the incident of an emotional breakdown. By having a plan in place, you will spend less time worrying about what could go wrong and more confident in managing emergencies.
One of the most important aspects to consider is how you will cope if a medical emergency occurs. If you require medical attention, how will you do this, and what will be your course of action? It is good to note down any special needs or medical conditions. This may include contacts, care plan and their history.
Secondly, ensuring you have all the required medical documents for travel is vital. It may be that you need individual confirmations of their condition and any equipment while on the move. A Doctor’s letter is top of the list. If travelling abroad, you could try to get hold of the document in the language of the country you are visiting, if necessary. Secondly, a copy of any prescriptions, also in both languages. Any medical insurance documents are essential, alongside the number for the emergency medical helpline.
Before you embark on your adventure, it is essential to think about the condition your passenger may be coping with and how travelling may affect them and in what way. For example, will an alteration in noise and sensation affect your passenger? If so, you need to deliberate how you can ease this change in scenery for the comfort of the traveller.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard
The sunflower lanyard was initially launched at Gatwick Airport and is now endorsed by the majority of railway companies, airports, NHS locations and supermarkets across the UK. The sunflower lanyard is a form of communication for people with disabilities that are not noticeably clear to signal that assistance may be necessary. It is a useful thing to have, and we would recommend its use while travelling, especially on public transport.
Talking to companies you plan to travel with is essential. Each section further in the article will go into further detail on this topic.
Tips for Car Journeys
If you are travelling by vehicle, you may need to look into what modifications you need to include for a disabled traveller. As previously mentioned, preparation is key, especially with any behavioural issues. Ensure you have a simple piece of paper with a list of medicines, contact details for medical support and any other information. Make sure to check out where the accessibility service stations are allocated on your route and ensure all comfort and stress relievers are packed in the car, just in case!
Tips for Travelling by Train
Inform stations if you, or someone with you, are travelling with a disability so they can help you on your arrival. It is also essential to note down any platform changes and where accessible toilets will be located in the station. You should be able to find this out when you inform the company. If you are travelling with a child, show them pictures to familiarise them with what the journey will entail. If possible, avoiding the heaviest hours of traffic should reduce the stress of the journey for all involved! Ensure all comfort blankets and toys have been packed too in case of an upset. If you happen to come across a friendly member of staff who is happy to talk about the journey, this can also help to ease any anxiety.
Tips for Travelling by Plane
Firstly, contacting the airline is a must. You can explain the needs of passenger travelling. Any procedures in the case of an emergency and the equipment necessary to accompany the individual onboard can be confirmed. Obtaining written permission from the correct medical professional is essential and needs to be with the guardian at all times. This should be used to ensure that equipment and medication can be taken on the flight. Before the flight, make sure to explain the small size of toilets, so the person is aware of the circumstances before the experience. Once you are at the airport, heading over to the appropriate airport staff is essential to help a smooth check-in.
Hopefully, we have eased some concerns you may have when trying to plan travel arrangements with an individual with special needs. For more inspiration on where to visit on your next holiday, take a look at our blog on Six of the Top Accessible National Trust Sites in Devon.
Spending time away from home overnight can initially feel like a daunting idea for both a parent and their child. However, a residential trip is an exciting time for a child to experience their first taste of independence. Residential trips are an opportunity to try new activities, make friends, grow in confidence and discover talents they may never have known they had outside of school! As an accessible site that provides school residential trips in Devon, we routinely witness the positive results of children experiencing our activity breaks. We have compiled some tips to help you to encourage your child to look forward to the week ahead if they are feeling nervous.
Begin by asking your child how they feel about the trip. Ask if there is something that they are worried about or a particular aspect of the residential they may not be looking forward to. It is healthy to help your child articulate any concerns into words if possible. By expressing their worries, it may release a lot of anxiety in itself. Areas they may feel anxious about are sleep arrangements, food and activities. Take the time to go through each worry and give reassurance by creating solutions together. Let them fully tell their story before offering comfort and express it is understandable for them to feel this way.
Create a List of Positives
Following the initial discussion, move the attention away from the initial concerns and create a list of all the possible positives to look forward to. Uncover together the activities your child is enthusiastic to try, the feelings they want to embrace and any scenarios they would like to laugh about.
Turn it into a Poster
After creating a fun and exciting lists of all the positives opportunities coming their way, form it into art! Create a poster of all the fun possibilities to help your child envision the positive outcomes of attending a residential trip. Not only will drawing it out help it sink in, but also the final product can be placed on a wall and used as a reminder of the exciting trip ahead!
‘Flip the Fear’
Natalie Costa, who is responsible for PowerThoughts.co.uk, has an excellent remedy to help encourage children to perceive worries from a different angle. Instead of using the words ‘nervous’, ‘worried’ and ‘anxious’ to describe the overall feeling towards the trip, insert ‘excited’ as a replacement. With the understanding that nervousness and excitement have incredibly similar physical responses, swapping nervous energy with positive energy can be an effective solution.
Look up the Location
The best way to feel more comfortable with a situation is to familiarise yourself. Look up the destination on Google and scroll through the area together. Have a look at pictures of the surrounding sites for your child to gauge what it will be like there. Discover anything the area is famous for and some landmarks to look out for on the journey there.
Arrange a Sleepover
Easing your child into understanding life with your temporary absence can be done through the organisation of a sleepover. This could be arranged at a friends house or grandparents. It will help your child to familiarise you not being there while encouraging fun with friends.
Create a List of Things to Take Together
Compile a list of things your child would like to take on the trip. If your child is going on the residential through a school trip, the school will most likely have a list of essential items to pack. Work with this, and re-write it together, so your child feels like they have some ownership over the experience. You can decide which exact items of clothing you will take and the benefits. A small cuddly toy as a mascot might be an excellent addition too!
After you have produced a list of items, pack them together too! It will help them to feel involved and gear them up for the event.
Imply the Idea of Independence
This may be your child’s first trip without you, which may be scary but is also an exciting introduction to independence. Talk about the trip and all the things they will be able to accomplish on their own. Explain how they will have inspiring stories for you to hear when they return, and you can’t wait.
The Calvert Trust Exmoor is dedicated to providing all residents with a supportive and enjoyable experience. For some inspiration on places to explore in the area, take a look at our blog Six of the Top Accessible National Trust Sites in Devon.
The National Trust is an independent charity dedicated to preserving the nation’s most beautiful dwellings. It focuses on maintaining buildings, but also gardens, nature reserves, coastline and countryside. With such an expanse of locations, it is almost an impossible task to select the best. We have concentrated this blog purely on the area of Devon, as it is close to our hearts and is filled with many scenic sites and locations.
Salcombe Hill is a prominent part of the coastline, situated on the South coast of Devon. The stunning, rustic cliffside dominates the landscape, and it is no surprise the area is regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The spot is an ideal location for a short, easy adventure, just under one mile in length. The route is maintained in perfect condition and consists of gravel paths, making it a fantastic course for wheelchair users or families with pushchairs. Located near Sidmouth, the area provides gorgeous views of Ladrum Bay and High Peak. Be sure to take a picnic to really take your time and enjoy the view.
A popular site in Devon, Killerton is perfect for an exciting day out with a variation of activities. Constructed during the 18th-century, the Killerton estate consists of a stunning Georgian house surrounded by beautiful woods, parkland and farmland, stretching to 6,400 acres in area. The top places to see include a charming garden, fashion exhibition and the old chapel. There is an all-terrain tramper that can be hired for the day but booking well in advance is necessary as it is in high demand.
Located in between two popular surf spots, Croyde and Putsborough, this magnificent section of coastline is an admired national trust location. Loved by many, Baggy Point provides the most stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean as the dramatic rock formation stretches out to sea. The surrounding sea is mesmerising in any condition and is a beautiful spot to take in, while in calm or rough waters. The west side of the point, reachable via Croyde, is an excellent, accessible route, here you may see seals if you’re lucky! The path is well maintained and level, ideal for wheelchairs, trampers and pushchairs.
Castle Droggo is a distinctive castle situated in amongst the dramatic backdrop of Dartmoor. The mighty castle overlooks the atmospheric Teign Gorge and provides an absorbing and fascinating visit for anyone who goes there. A tramper is also available in this site, which is fantastic for anyone who would like to explore the gorge. At the top of the gorge, lies a stunning view of Dartmoor and the proceeding valley. Again, this is also a top-rated site, so booking well in advance is a necessity.
This charming location is situated in the surrounding area of Bovey Tracey. It is a delightful estate, consisting of beautiful beehives, fields, vegetable gardens, orchards and fruit gardens. The idyllic fish pond, in particular, is a pleasant area to relax. If you fancy a little stroll through the gardens or would like to explore further afield in the majestic woodlands, there is something to satisfy everyone.
Hiring the tramper here is free, but donations are appreciated.
The undeniable charm of this stunning gorge lies in the impressive 30m waterfall. You will not be disappointed by the array of beautiful plantation along the river and captivating woodland surrounding the area. It is a magical destination whether in winter or summer seasons, each attractive in their own way.
If you require a tramper, the Lydford Gorge tramper is only available between March and October due to a reduction in Winter staff. It is recommended to book the tramper two days in advance to ensure there is a trained member of team onsite. There are a couple of routes you can take around the gorge; both require accompanied users for safety precautions. One will take you to the bottom of the Whitelady Waterfall. The second is a charming route along the old railway.
We hope we have provided you with some inspiring ideas for your next accessible holiday in Devon. If you would like to learn more about our very own accessible holiday breaks, take a look at our blog on How Can an Adventure Break Improve Confidence for a Disabled Child? for more information.