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Lake District Calvert Trust launches urgent fundraising appeal as pandemic drives charity to brink of closure

Calvert Lakes

The Lake District Calvert Trust has launched an urgent fundraising appeal having been driven to the brink of permanent closure by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Trust’s Emergency Bounce Back Appeal aims to save this much-loved charity.  Based on current projections, the Trust’s own contingency funds will run out by March 2021 and its survival now hangs in the balance.  In recent weeks, the Trust has furloughed the vast majority of its staff and closed its doors until the New Year.

The Lake District Calvert Trust has been supporting people with disabilities from its specialist Calvert Lakes residential centre and accessible riding centre near Keswick in the Lake District for almost forty-five years.  Participants enjoy the benefits of its unique programmes and facilities in a safe and accessible, yet challenging environment.

Having delivered life changing programmes for thousands of disabled children and adults over the years, the Trust is now fighting for its future, having been hit by a perfect storm of Covid-19 related restrictions.

Calvert Lakes, the Trust’s specialist residential centre, relies heavily on special school educational visits as one of its main sources of income but the lockdown and blanket ban on schools taking residential trips has wiped out visitor numbers. While the Trust responded with an internal restructuring programme and diversifying into new areas such as B&B accommodation, it still saw a reduction of over £1million in income.  Community facilities such as the Trust’s Riding Centre and hydrotherapy pool are now closed for the foreseeable future.

In addition, the Trust’s new brain injury rehabilitation centre, Calvert Reconnections, has had its opening pushed back to spring 2021, further reducing much-needed revenue and adding to the pressures on the charity.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has left a huge, one-million-pound gap in our income,” explained Giles Mounsey-Heysham, Chairman of the Trustees.  “To survive the winter and bounce back in Spring 2021, we have to act now to seek external support.

“Covid-19 has had a deep impact on the Trust and a number of associated factors have conspired to make it a perfect storm.

“At Calvert Lakes, we have lost over two thirds of our visitors and income.

“Having now closed our doors due to the second lockdown, that position will only worsen and our contingency funds will be exhausted by March 2021, despite really careful financial management.

“Our trustees and staff have worked really hard to introduce alternative revenue streams and cut costs wherever possible but it has proved impossible to weather the economic storm on our own.  We are now staring down the barrel.

“Over the years we have received very generous support from so many funders.   We need and appreciate their support now more than ever.  Our Emergency Bounce Back Appeal is about the very future of the Trust.

“Once this pandemic is over the ‘Calvert experience’ will be needed more than ever, not only by our current beneficiaries but also the many people affected by Covid-19 and the impact it has had on everyone’s lives, health and wellbeing.

“We have been here for nearly forty-five years and we desperately want to continue supporting people with disabilities to benefit from the incredible accessible adventure the Trust has pioneered.  Please help Lake District Calvert Trust Bounce Back.”

The charity’s Emergency Bounce Back Appeal will include a series of short videos in which Calvert beneficiaries and volunteers describe the positive and life-enhancing experiences they have enjoyed when visiting the Trust.

They will be shown at www.calvertlakes.org.uk and shared on social media using the hashtag #CalvertLakesBounceBack

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