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Lake District Calvert Trust appeal hits £500,000 and plans to reopen in June

The Calvert Lake District Trust plans to reopen on June 21 – and has raised more than £500,000 through its Emergency Bounce Back Appeal.

The Lake District charity, which offers outdoor adventures to the disabled and those with learning difficulties, launched the appeal at the end of last year, because it had lost over £1 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its future hung in the balance and no financial help is available in England and Wales to support outdoor activity centres.

One of the centres users, 13-year-old Oliver Voysey, who suffered a brain injury when he was two days old causing catastrophic damage including sight loss, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and learning difficulties,  launched Oliver’s Calvert Army and took on a series of challenges, including walking on a treadmill for 13 minutes, standing independently for 13 seconds, completing a 13-minute walk and scoring 13 goals in a penalty shoot-out.

He raised more than £180,000 for the centre and almost 3,000 people have now joined Oliver’s Calvert Army and are taking part in their own themed challenges.

Giles Mounsey-Heysham, chairman of the trustees at the Lake District Calvert Trust, said: “I would like to say an enormous thank you to all the individuals, local communities, businesses and grant-making trusts for their fantastic support.

“What a difference this support has made.  We are now over half way to recovering the £1m income lost during 2020 due to the pandemic lockdown and our consequent lack of income.  It is hugely encouraging.

“We are optimistic that brighter times lie ahead.

“Our plan is to fully reopen Calvert Lakes on June 21 and we are now taking bookings – but we still have some way to go on our journey to recovery and our need for ongoing support remains urgent.

“The reality is that we are losing money every single day due to operating costs and maintenance – and will continue to do so until the centre can safely reopen and social distancing is a thing of the past.

“Once allowed to open our doors, our recovery depends on many factors but it is very clear that 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.

“A very big thank you to everyone who has supported us financially and with their good wishes.   Please do continue to support if you possibly can.

“This will ensure that we can continue to be there for our disabled visitors and their families through next winter into 2022 and beyond.”