The Genesis of a Bendrigg Tutor

The Genesis of a Bendrigg Tutor…

By Rex Pickles

If you wind back time, to when the Bangles were topping the charts with ‘Walk like an Egyptian’, – a young, smooth chinned twenty three year old, dressed in his smartest draylon flairs, paused to draw breath outside the doors with the sign saying ‘Welcome to Bendrigg Lodge’.

Gaining his composure, he pushed open the doors, passing the waterproofs and boots and through into the dark corridor beyond.

Immediately unfamiliar sounds echoed down towards him. It was a Friday, and the visiting groups were busying themselves as they prepared to leave, bags being stacked and bedding thrown out of bedrooms.

Having taken four tentative steps, a door burst open next to him and out bounded a young lad with Downs Syndrome. Spotting the weirdly dressed stranger, the young lad skidded to a halt and accosted him.

‘ Hi, who are you? ‘ blurted the question, but without waiting for a response continued. ‘ My names Tommy, and I’ve done this, this and this. ‘- and proceeded to list all the activities he’d been doing that week.

Then came the final question. ‘ What have you been doing? ‘

Slightly stunned by the lads enthusiastic outburst, the young man looked around to see if there was anyone there to guide him. There wasn’t.

‘ Err, well, my names Rex and…’ he answered, frantically trying to think what he’d done the previous week. And frankly the truth was – very little, other than hanging round mates flats, doing whatever youngsters do whilst on the dole in Preston. ‘ Nothing really. ‘ ‘ Ah well. ‘ gushed the lads response ‘ If you come here, you’ll do loads! ‘

And that was my first introduction to Bendrigg. Thirty four years on, and I’m still grateful to you Tommy, for giving that somewhat insecure and unsure young man a little inspiration.

Thank you Tommy….

 


Our people are one of our charities 7 core values and if you’ve been to Bendrigg you are highly likely to have met the amazing Rex. He is the face of Bendrigg to many of our groups and the epitome of what we are all about. He is happy, full of experience and cares deeply about his team mates and each and every group with whom he works.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, our staff team remain of paramount importance to us, simply put, Bendrigg just isn’t Bendrigg without our amazing team.

Please help us so that we are able to continue offering adventure activities for all, once it is safe to do so, by supporting our Resilience Campaign.

Thank you from all the Bendrigg Family x

 

 

 

Shaping The Future Together

Bendrigg Engagement Day

On Thursday 9th January 2020 Bendrigg Trust held it’s very first Engagement Day, and sorry to disappoint but it was not the down on one knee, she said yes kind of engagement day. It was however an absolutely brilliant gathering of our stakeholders including participants, group leaders, supporters, trustees and staff. The aim of the day was to bring all of these people together, who have a different perspective of Bendrigg to brainstorm, share feedback and come up with ideas which will help us to shape our vision for Bendrigg moving forwards.

We kept our Mission and Values at the core of the discussions and had break out groups to focus on the following areas :

  • Environment
  • Innovation
  • Keeping The Magic Alive 
  • Financial Sustainability
  • Who Are We For
  • Community Engagement
  • Cultural Journey

By focusing our discussions around these key areas for development, we are now able to develop future plans, both short and long term, based on all of the collaborative feedback.

       


Feedback from the day

Over the years I have attended many, many events similar to the one you held yesterday, however I have to say, I have never attended one with such passion, such commitment or such enthusiasm. The fact that people had travelled from so far and wide to be there showed how committed people are to supporting you and the organisation moving forward.  The facilitator, John, was excellent, I really felt that he understood what you were trying to achieve and his passion to get the most from everyone was clear from the outset.

Over the many years of bringing groups to Bendrigg (sometimes 2 or 3 times per year), we have brought some children and young people so poorly, so severely disabled that their time at Bendrigg truly was a “once in a lifetime experience”.  Sadly, some of those children / young people are no longer with us.  I have felt privileged to have been able to offer a break to those young people at Bendrigg with support from our team.  It has been a real gift knowing that we helped to shape those memories and experiences for that child / young person and their family and that even when that child has passed away the family have those photos and DVD’s of our stays showing their child with huge smiles across their faces and their eyes lit up as they flew across the sports hall on the big swing, took a leap of faith on the zip wire or quietly relaxed in the multi-sensory room. Truly priceless.

Yesterday for me showed the true “magic” of Bendrigg, from the huge hug from Rex as we arrived in the (somewhat soggy) car park, him remembering our names and asking about my son! Walking is us to main door under his umbrella. Bumping into Jo in the dining room to be hugged again (a real hug because someone wants you to know they mean it) and the conversation between us flowing so immediately and so easily that I was left feeling like it was only a day since we last spoke. Seeing many members of staff – Ed, Mel, Vic, Jennifer, Libby and Val and all of them remembering my name, chatting like people I see daily and remembering details of young people or activities etc when we have been at Bendrigg.

Bendrigg for me always feels magical.

Kelly Piper, Leisure For All Manager


Thank you

We’d like to say a great big thank you to all those who attended, some who travelled a considerable distance and took time out of their working week to come and be a part of the day.

A fantastic day was had by all and the love for Bendrigg and passion shown by everyone who attended is what made it very special. Our management team and trustees will be meeting to move the ideas forward and we will be sharing updates on this in the coming months.

A huge thank you also to the wonderful John Matthews from Impact International for facilitating an exceptional day, which will no doubt play a huge part in shaping the future of our Charity.

 

To keep up to date with all of our latest news and events, you can subscribe to The Bendrigg Buzz our monthly newsletter.

 


 

Tutors Of The Future

Bendrigg Trust Trainee Tutors

This year, Bendrigg Trust have taken on 2 new Trainee Tutors….

Introducing Abigail & Dominic!

   

At the start of their trainee-ship at Bendrigg, they have spent some time out in the beautiful Lake District along with our level 2 trainees, Beth & Simon who we are thrilled to be keeping on for a 2nd year of the trainee programme.

The group have been out to Ullswater Canoeing, Caving at County Pot, Ease Gill & exploring the stunning Jacks Rake in the stunning Langdale.

   

 

We are lucky to have such a wonderful group of trainees who are dedicated to becoming Tutors of the Future!

 

 

Would you like the opportunity to work alongside our groups? We take on volunteers throughout the year to assist the tutorial team and work alongside our groups. It’s a fantastic way to build your skills and gain experience working in the outdoors… find out more here.