Lottery funding lifeline for Calvert Trust Exmoor

A young boy at Calvert Trust Exmoor learning how to abseil in a wheelchair with an instructor assisting him

Calvert Trust Exmoor has received almost £100,000 in National Lottery funding. - Credit: Contributed

A National Lottery grant of almost £100,000 will enable Calvert Trust Exmoor to survive through the winter and look forward to reopening in 2021. 

The centre near Kentisbury, which offers adventure breaks for the disabled, first closed when the pandemic hit in March and has remained shut apart from a few weeks in September and October. 

Since the coronavirus crisis started the charity has restructured, placed staff on furlough and received funding from Government grants, banks and from supporters’ donations. 

The garden and dining room at Calvert Trust Exmoor

The garden and dining room at Calvert Trust Exmoor. - Credit: Calvert Trust Exmoor

The latest boost from the National Lottery was for just over £96,000 and came courtesy of the National Lottery Community Support Fund. 

Even in 2021, visitor capacity is expected to be less due to coronavirus restrictions and with a waiting list of pre-paid visitors from 2020, next year is expected to be similarly challenging for the charity. 

Centre director Andrew Laming said: “Because our facilities are so accessible often it is the only time our families can experience what many people take for granted. 

“Our guests and clients who would normally be making genuinely lifelong memories during the spring and summer were left isolated. 

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“For many of our guests the lockdown proved really difficult and they could not wait to return for another visit. Some enjoyed a short window of opportunity but now as we enter the grip of winter, schools are still banned from residentials and there is potential for yet further restrictions.” 

Setting off in a double canoe during a demonstration after the official opening of the new water spo

Setting off in a double canoe during a demonstration of water sports facilities at Calvert Trust Exmoor. - Credit: Archant

Due to celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, it now welcomes thousands of visitors a year, has its own riding school and indoor climbing wall, and caters for groups, families and individuals. 

Mr Laming added: “With the charity shut for most of the spring and summer we were unable to build up the reserves we need to help survive the continued uncertainty that faces our whole community. 

“So the support from the National Lottery Community Support Fund is timely and invaluable. The staff and all the visitors of Calvert Trust Exmoor want to thank the public and the National Lottery for all the support that they give. 

“The major concern is about what might happen in 2021. Calvert’s Community Endurance Project together with support from others has raised enough money to enable us to endure the hard winter months and we must look forward to next year with fresh optimism.” 

2021 is likely to be even more challenging economically than 2020, and the charity needs to raise £500,000 to be able to survive 2021 and beyond.  

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