Charity celebrates official opening of its new pontoon and water sports facilities.
NEW water sports facilities made possible thanks to thousands of telephone votes were officially opened today (Friday) at Calvert Trust Exmoor.
The new pontoon was funded through the Big Lottery People’s Millions project and followed a head to head public vote in November hosted by ITV West Country, which saw the charity near Blackmoor Gate receive £50,000.
The centre makes it possible for people with physical, learning, behavioural or sensory disabilities to experience exciting and challenging outdoor activities.
The pontoon offers a much larger safe platform for guests including wheelchair users to access canoeing, kayaking and sailing boats, and includes two hoists to assist wheelchair users to transfer into boats.
It also includes a semi-submersible platform to allow easy access to boats.
The official opening and ribbon cutting was carried out by local Devon County Councillor Andrea Davis, as invited guests looked on.
“It’s a big honour for me to be here,” she said.
“When I am away around the country I meet people who have been here and they talk about what an opportunity it is to come here and what a big difference it makes to their lives.”
Chief executive Tony Potter said the campaign to gather support for the one day telephone vote had seen a fantastic effort across the South West, with almost 8,500 votes recorded on the day.
Robert Lott, head of communications added: “We were overwhelmed with the level of support we received from across the South West during the People’s Millions.
“Just over half of the money has been used to provide bursary funds to assist South West families with a disabled child to take a break with us; the rest has built our fantastic new pontoon system.”
Activities manager Jon Cawley said the new flexible pontoon system offered so many more options and allowed many more people to access water sports. He thanked both VersaDock and South Western Aid for working with the trust to create the system.