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- Why the name Calvert Trust?
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Founded in 1978, Calvert Trust is the inspiration of John Fryer-Spedding, whose vision was to enable people with disabilities to benefit from outdoor activities in the countryside.
Despite Harold McMillan claiming that “the National Parks are for all people for all time” in 1951 when the first Park was opened, John Fryer-Spedding realised this was not quite true and that a lack of accessible facilities restricted people with disabilities from truly enjoying our beautiful countryside and benefiting from outdoor activity.
The First Centre.
With this in mind, John Fryer-Spedding enlisted the help of Elinor, Viscountess Rochdale. Together they looked for people with the same vision and it wasn't long before a small group of people had been found and the decision to form a Trust had been made.
The Fryer-Spedding family donated two farmsteads, Old Windebrowe and Little Crosthwaite, to the Trust and, in 1978, the Little Crosthwaite Adventure Centre was formally opened.
Back then the centre had just one warden, a secretary, one instructor, two horses and two dinghies. But soon demand grew and Calvert Trust Keswick was born. Today the centre employs 35 permanent staff and has many facilities – welcoming over 3,000 people every year, from groups to families, to individuals.
A Second Centre…
With the Calvert Trust centre in Keswick becoming so successful, the founders realised that a second centre was required. In addition, there appeared to be a need for a centre to accommodate families, with so many groups visiting Keswick.
Despite considering many sites, Kielder, with its magnificent man-made reservoir became an obvious option, and so Calvert Trust Kielder became a reality and after much fundraising, this second centre was opened by HRH Princess Alexandra in 1984.
Today Calvert Trust Kielder welcomes over 5,000 visitors every year and as well as the centre and all its activities, there are also 10 wonderful fully accessible self catering log chalets set in the beautiful Kielder forest. Whilst many families visit, Kielder also welcomes many groups and individuals, and has its own adult respite care service.
And so to Exmoor…
With two centres in the North of England, there was still scope for development, particularly as people from the South of England were reluctant to travel such a distance, and so a challenge was set to find an ideal location in the South.
And where better than the Exmoor National Park with wonderful countryside, fantastic beaches and good access to the road network?
When a farmstead, right next to Wistlandpound Reservoir, came up for sale, fast work was needed. With an anonymous donor and many other generous gifts, the purchase went ahead and Calvert Trust Exmoor became a reality – opening in 1996.
Today Exmoor welcomes over 3,500 guests and has its own on-site riding school, an indoor climbing wall, and caters for groups, families and individuals.
Each centre still retains much of its independence, but the three are now formally united under the Council of the Calvert Trust.
The Calvert Trust has been built upon the spirit of its visitors. It has also been blessed by the dedication of its staff and many voluntary supporters. It is indebted to the grant-making trusts, companies and individuals who have shown it great generosity.
We can say to all these people and bodies that their faith, commitment and energy has been invested well and we will continue to concentrate on challenging disability through outdoor adventure and helping our visitors find out “it's what you can do that counts”.
”Young children can explore their spirit of adventure in a safe and caring environment, Calvert Trust Kielder is a place where everything is possible.’