Activity centre for disabled and disadvantaged people sets sights on new £1.5m overhaul

How the new centre could look

How the new centre could look

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Assistant editor

A RESIDENTIAL activity centre for disabled and disadvantaged people in South Lakeland is to undergo a £1.5m development.

Plans have been developed by Lancaster-based Harrison Pitt Architects to create new facilities on behalf of the Bendrigg Trust at the charity’s Old Hutton headquarters.

It will see the creation of a new fully wheelchair-accessible residential unit, named Acorn House, to replace an outdated facility at the site.

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There are also plans to extend the resource centre and create outdoor activities space featuring a wheelchair-accessible activities tower complete with a tree house, tree-top walkway, climbing wall andzip wire.

The walkway structure will link the activities space with the residential areas of the site, removing theneed for wheelchair users and carers to navigate the steep undulating ground.

This will also free up space to create car parking areas, improved access and better landscaping at the entrance to the site.

Bendrigg Trust is now embarking on a major fundraising drive.

Principal Trevor Clarke said: “The centre has a long history of providing memorable outdoor experiences for a variety of users. Over the last few years, the majority of our funding is for provision for disabled and disadvantaged groups and some of our existing accommodation is no longer fit for purpose.

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“These new designs will transform the space. The proposed Acorn House residential centre will give us the specialist accommodation we need and the project as a whole allows us to significantly improve the activities on offer.”

Users at Bendrigg are mainly groups of young people with a disability from schools, colleges and charities.

The centre sees people with, or recovering from, mental illness and young people excluded from mainstream schooling.

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