Bendrigg Trust appeals for building work funds

The Westmorland Gazette: Trevor Clarke of Bendrigg Trust Trevor Clarke of Bendrigg Trust

A ‘LIFE-CHANGING’ adventure centre for disabled and disadvantaged people is in need of £1.5m for an over-haul of its facilities.

The Bendrigg Trust, between Killington and Old Hutton, has been given the green light for changes that will enable it to help thousands of people every year – but they cannot go ahead without a major cash injection.

“The first part of the project is to build a new accommodation block that will be more accessible for disabled people,” explained Trevor Clarke, principal of the centre.

“But we’ve got to raise £890,000 to make it a reality and that’s before we even look at the rest of the plan.

“We’re delighted we’ve been given planning permission but that was just the first step.”

The proposals were approved by South Lakeland District Council last month.

The centre has around 3,000 visitors of all ages every year but only one of its two accommodation blocks is accessible by wheelchair. As a result the other often stands empty, even though demand for the centre is high.

“Bendrigg Trust is one of the very few outdoor centres in the UK specialising in working with people with disabilities,” said Mr Clarke.

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“Disabled people don’t always get the opportunity to take part in adventure activities and very often they’re left behind.

“But through participation in activities like this it gives them chance to be more independent and it gives them a boost to their self-confidence and self-esteem.”

As well as a new residential lodge, the plans also include a refurbishment of the resource centre and the building of a brand new ‘treetop walk’ with pedestrian lift, climbing wall and zipwire.

It is envisaged the work will take place over the next five years.

Phase two, at a cost of £325,000, will see the treetop walk built, while the final phase will pay for the old accommodation block to be refurbished into a toilet and staff accommodation block, as well as better car parking and an equipment store.

The trust, which relies on 150 volunteers and donations of £40,000 every year, has already applied for grants for the work, but donations are still needed.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say it changes a lot of peoples’ lives for the better,” added Mr Clarke.

For details visit www.bendrigg.org.uk or email trevor@bendrigg.org.uk .

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