Children In Need Grant
Report of trip undertaken by St. Albans Area Junior Phab Club to the Calvert Trust, Exmoor
Who benefited from the money?
Physically-disabled children and their families/carers who are members of St. Albans Area Junior Phab Club – a group which has been operating in St. Albans for forty years. The children ranged in age from 7-17 and their conditions included Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Muscular Dystrophy, Perthes’ Disease and Hearing Impaired.
How was the money spent?
The money (£6,500 with an additional £300 paid by ourselves) allowed the group to spend 3 nights at the Calvert Trust, Exmoor. This is an award winning, fully accessible centre, with instructors who are specifically trained to work with disabled people. The slogan of the Calvert Trust is “Challenging Disability through Outdoor Adventure”. Children need to be on-site and so food and accommodation was included in the overall cost.
What activities did the children take part in?
There was a structured programme of activities with the children taking advantage of what the centre has to offer.
These activities included:
Climbing and abseiling with the more severely disabled being able to abseil in their chairs!
Zip-wiring and giant swing – which had a range of harnesses and supports and which provided a wonderful sensory stimulation experience for all taking part.
Canoeing and kayaking on Wistlandpound reservoir – a safe, controlled environment which the Calvert Trust has exclusive use of. There was easy access to the water for wheelchair users and a range of adaptive seating. There was a real sense of ‘freedom’.
Crate stacking with specially designed harnesses, children were able to leave their wheelchairs and work with a partner to build the highest stack, but with all group members contributing – many reached the ceiling before they fell!
Archery no-one will ever have done archery in a location like this – overlooking the reservoir! Fun, competitive games between teams. Lots of improvement witnessed.
Swimming in pool heated to hydrotherapy temperatures, with hoist into pool. The high-needs changing facilities were praised by the carers.
Evening activities which were more relaxed gave everyone the opportunity to mix and reflect on their day.
What were the specific benefits of the trip?
There were so many: development in hand/eye co-ordination, motor skills, self-confidence, witnessing a “I can do it” attitude. Many children had not had this kind of experience before. It would not be affordable to many of those who attended. Also, the experience of being in a group, of seeing everyone achieve and being able to encourage and cheer each other on made the trip even more memorable and valuable. We all had so much fun.
Thank you wonderful Children in Need for giving us the opportunity to give our group memories that will last their life-times.