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 email@example.com.
Learning outside the classroom allows children to acknowledge skills that they may not know they have. It is the opportunity to try something new, in a safe and exciting environment. The world opens out beyond the classroom, and concepts and learning processes become literal.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we provide a range of accessible holidays, including residential school trips as well as charity holidays for the disabled in Devon. We believe that outdoor learning and activities can liberate people and has the possibility of improving their well-being.
In this article, we will discuss why learning outside the classroom is essential to help in the development of children.
Children Can Experience Resilience
Being outside the classroom is a whole new experience. Children have to adapt to the outdoor conditions and absorb further instructions which directly apply to the outdoor environment. Their brains are engaged in a different way and the understanding of new safety instructions have to be processed.
It is a new kind of challenge, and depending on the activity, may feel slightly nerve-wracking. While this may sound negative, overcoming these difficulties may be their first taste of resilience, which is considered a crucial part of developing self-confidence.
By conquering their fears outdoors, learning to persevere and believing in one’s ability can be taken back to the classroom and applied to academic learning.
It Gives Children a Sense of Responsibility and Independence
A break from the school environment may feel like an exciting experience and give children a sense of independence by being away from home, if on a residential trip. Children can have the chance to take responsibility for their belongings, for example.
In effect, this will build on their sense of independence because they may become more self-aware, taking into account and preparing for their own needs and requirements for the activities.
If your child feels anxious about a residential trip, our news piece on How to Get Your Child Excited for a Residential Trip has some handy hints and tips which may help!
It Offers a Different, Engaging Space
A repetitive week inside the classroom for the duration of the school year can become a bit tedious. By experiencing challenges outside the academic setting, it may reset the attention and engagement of pupils.
It firstly gives students something to look forward to and is a way to break up the work in the classroom. Secondly, it offers a range of activities they may not have tried before, freshly testing their brains as previously mentioned.
It Helps to Form Relationships
Experiencing new activities outside brings the class or group together as everyone will tend to be in a similar situation of trying something new. As a result, outdoor classrooms are a platform for children to support one another and offer advice from their experience of the activity.
As a result, these relationships may be taken back to the classroom as the experience acts as a point of reference for children to think back to, and ultimately cherish. Not only does this affect peers, but also the teacher to student relationship.
Seeing the teacher in a similar circumstance, learning and engaging with a qualified instructor, may help children relate to the teacher and understand it is ok to embrace the new situation with whatever feelings accompany it.
Being Outdoors is Healthy
There have been numerous studies about the effects of the great outdoors on humans.
One of the health benefits which sticks out the most is related to the mental impact for humans to be outdoors. A study completed by the UEA’s Norwich Medical School revealed that when we see the greenery of nature, stress levels reduced significantly. See our article on How an Adventure Break Can Improve Mental Health for more information on this.
Furthermore, blood pressure and heart rate also both decreased.
The activities at Calvert Trust Exmoor all involve some sort of basic exercise, which means that the body gets a workout alongside mental wellbeing.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are dedicated to providing exciting opportunities for all residents at our accessible site in Devon.
We would love to hear your thoughts about the advantages of learning outside the classroom. Let us know on our social media channels!
Five Benefits of Surfing for People with a Disability
Surfing is a highly active sport that requires the focus of both mind and body. Here at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, we believe everyone should have a chance to experience and enjoy such a fun sport. Our accessible site is idyllically located near the beautiful North Devon coastal village of Croyde, where we offer surfing as an offsite activity. We are in proud partnership with both Surf South West and the Wave Project and are excited to include surfing into our current list of accessible activities. The lessons will be a step above our regular sessions, and instead of having ten people to one instructor, one to one sessions will be available for our guests.
A dedicated charity to surf therapy, an impressive 2239 young people have been involved in Wave Project courses to date. The Wave Project believes that surfing can help children and adults with disabilities, mainly by improving their feelings of anxiousness through surfing. In this article, we would like to explore how surfing benefits those who attend the sessions.
Surf Therapy Research
As a relatively recent breakthrough, surf therapy has not been thoroughly researched. However, there have been a couple of examples such as the University of Rhode Island’s study on the ‘Benefits of Surfing for Children with Disabilities: A Pilot Study’ in 2012. The study discusses how limited participation in physical activities has a wide range of adverse effects, including increased obesity and secondary health problems down the line. It also touches on the psychological impact of not completing activities for people with a disability. Our article will go on to discuss its findings on why surfing should be used to combat this.
The Wave Project also produces a yearly evaluation, which is based on the completion of questionnaires answered by participants before and after they attend a surf session, focussing on feelings of self-belief. It also advocates that providing people with disabilities the access to complete exciting and challenging activities should be wholeheartedly encouraged for both the positive mental and physical implications it can have, as our article will explore.
It Can Improve Physical Fitness
Surfing is widely acknowledged as an intense form of exercise which involves healthy levels of aerobic activity. The 2012 study by the University of Rhode Island found that overall, surfing improved the physical wellbeing of the participants, especially in terms of their upper-body strength and their levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. The reference to cardiorespiratory fitness is especially relevant to children who have physical disabilities, as it is understood that it is generally relatively low compared to those children who do not have disabilities. As a result, the study suggests that surfing is beneficial for the physical improvement for those who have disabilities.
It Offers Dedicated One to One Time
An essential part of the surf therapy sessions at the Wave Project is to ensure each attendee is looked after in a one to one environment. Where this arrangement understandably assists in health and safety precautions, it also helps to form trusting relationships between the attendees and the dedicated volunteers. One to one time with the Wave Project volunteers has been described as one of the most meaningful parts of the experience by the children who attend the surf therapy sessions with the charity. The surf therapy experience can feel enriched due to the high level of interactive instructing devoted to the children. Furthermore, it can limit distractions as outside pressures are contained in a one to one environment. This set up also encourages attendees to rely on themselves to achieve the activity under the supervision of volunteers. As a result, it may enhance feelings of independence due to the encouragement while being in a stable and committed environment.
It Provides Social Inclusion
The 2018 Wave Project Evaluation also emphasises the feeling of social inclusion which has emerged from the network of people attending the sessions. It is a sense of community that not only applies to the participants who complete the therapy but also their parents, carers and the volunteers. Some of the volunteers initially participated at the Wave Project as attendees themselves and with this empathy in mind, have successfully created an incredibly welcoming and understanding environment. Furthermore, because of the energetic nature of the activity, the friendship between instructor and child can blossom, and children don’t feel as distant as they may do in a school environment, for example.
It Supports Feelings of Confidence and Self Belief
Both research by the University of Rhode Island and the 2018 Wave Project Evaluation suggests how taking part in an organised activity has the ability to improve self-esteem. The Wave Project Evaluation in particular, found that the relationship formed between child and volunteer encouraged the sense of belonging, and therefore produced the feeling of acceptance. These feelings are incredibly important in improving a person’s self-esteem and personal perception. By sparking these feelings towards oneself, confidence can improve, and the desire to challenge oneself is boosted.
It Provides a Challenging but Fun Experience
Surfing is a truly unique sport, and teaches so many skills including balance, as well as furthering water knowledge. The Wave project discloses different stories in their Report, which emphasises the fascination and pride participants feel when completing a session. One parent from Devon describes how their child goes to school feeling elated by the fact they surf and other classmates are not familiar with the sport.
For inspiration on accessible holidays in Devon, take a look at the dedicated adventure breaks we provide. If your child is already attending an activity break, and you would like some guidance on how to get your child excited for a residential trip, take a look at our blog!
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.
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.
According to the National Autistic Society, an estimated 700,000 people may have the disorder; this can convert into a statistic of 1 in 100 of the population with autism. As autism is not one, but a range of disorders, it is referred to as ASD, which stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Wendy Chung has discussed how we have seen an increase in cases of ASD in more recent decades, and this may be a result of an improvement in diagnosis abilities. However, it may be challenging to diagnose, as there are many variations. In this article, we aim to help you understand what autism is and discuss the advantages of support for people with autism.
What is Autism?
Autism is a condition that affects the neurobehavioral aspects of a person. It is understood that people with autism generally have sensory sensitivity and this changes how they interpret their surroundings. It affects how senses are communicated to the brain and results in possible confusion. Their perception of the world, compared to someone who does not have the condition, may feel like a sensory overload. As a result, it can affect how they socially interact and communicate, therefore making connections and interactions more difficult. Everyday situations that may usually be viewed as comfortable can feel overwhelming for someone with autism. However, this can also mean that some people with autism find tasks that others find difficult, incredibly easy.
What are the Exterior Signs of Autism?
As there is a spectrum of autism, immediate diagnosis can be difficult. It is understood that signs of autism usually emerge by the age of three. It may not be apparent until a child reaches a year and half years old when difficulty in communication becomes noticeable. However, sometimes, signs are there from birth.
For others, it may not be until a change of environment in later life which triggers symptoms of autism to surface. This is because the new circumstance is beyond their competence, and it has never been previously probed. It is not unusual for an autistic person to go through life without a diagnosis.
The National Autistic Society website reveals that women, in particular, often go undiagnosed due to a variety of reasons. For example, ‘autism diagnosis tools’ are often based on male characteristics, as opposed to female, so they do not fit into the profile associated with autism when in review for diagnosis. Furthermore, it is suggested that women tend to ‘cover’ their struggles more so than men, leading them to go often undiagnosed.
However, adult diagnosis, much like a diagnosis in children, is increasing with a better understanding of the condition.
Common behaviours of autism include struggling with talking (especially about how they feel), being around others, and playing with other children. Repetition of words, movements, phrases, questions, and types of food are also indicators. The coping strategies at times of stress may differ to what you would expect and usually involve repetitious movements, such as rocking, hand movements and pacing. A fondness to particular objects is also a trait associated with autism. It is not unusual for people with autism to not observe other people or happenings around them. In more severe cases, children with autism may cultivate seizures which can arise during their teenage years.
What Difficulties do People with Autism Face?
As previously mentioned, people who have autism suffer sensitive senses which can be very uncomfortable, overwhelming and sometimes painful for them. It can be unclear for people around them as the cause for their discomfort may not be visible. Change is not received well by people who have autism and a change in routine can be extremely unsettling for them. In some cases, this level of discomfort can cause self-inflicting, harmful behaviours. Furthermore, the development of communication skills can be hindered, dependent on the level of autism. However, in some academic aspects, they may soar in their capabilities, such as music, drawing, maths and memory. The National Autistic Society has revealed that only one in six adults with autism have a job; this suggests that many people with autism struggle with independent living and responsibility in their adult lives. Support should make this a more achievable goal but may not be a viable outcome for all cases.
Why Are Diagnosis and Support Important for People Who Have Autism?
It is understood that early diagnosis of autism is enormously beneficial. Firstly, it creates awareness for themselves, their families, friends and other relationships about their situation and explains why certain behaviours may erupt. These surrounding people need to take the time and to understand the effects of autism. It has been reported that 34% of children with ASD feel that bullying is the worse part about going to school. This is a heart-breaking statistic which proves why the correct support and understanding can make a massive alteration to someone’s life, especially a child.
Our Devon activity breaks are a fantastic, inclusive opportunity for everyone to enjoy a safe space, accessible for all. Our programmes are specially arranged before arrival at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, which assists the transition of our guests to the new surroundings. In addition to this, we have a pictorial programme displayed throughout the stay, also designed to help ease transitions. For more information, take a look at our blog, How Can an Adventure Break Improve Confidence for a Disabled Child to discover more about the benefits of adventure holidays.