The Bendrigg Blog

Nothing Is Impossible

Nothing Is Impossible

By Liz Dyke

There have been so many special moments for me whilst working as a tutor at Bendrigg over the last 9 years, it’s hard to pick out just one or two. The way that both individuals and groups come together and challenge themselves is incredible and so rewarding to be a part of.

I remember one young man sat with me at the top of our free hang abseil who was petrified of going over the edge into “thin air” – a totally rational fear when we’re designed to walk on the ground. You could see his inner battle going on as, on the one hand, his mates were all doing it so he should be able to do it too, but logic and reasoning was telling him that it just wasn’t natural. We talked together about his reservations and what was stopping him – it takes a lot of trust, in both the person holding the safety rope (who he’d only known a few days), and also in the equipment… Was it strong enough? What would happen if he let go? Could he get tangled in the rope? Was it safe? – All valid questions. He was determined though and he inched ever closer to the precipice, slowly but surely finding the courage to put his trust in the rope and in me to keep him safe. Then, letting the harness take his weight whilst his feet were still on solid ground, you could see the apprehension and fear begin to give way to determination and the realisation that “he could do this”. We all held our breaths as he perched poised and ready for that final leap into the unknown, the tension building, his class mates cheering him on, his teachers willing him to succeed.

The joy and emotion that swept through everyone as he stepped off the edge and hung suspended in mid air was incredible and he continued to amaze himself and everyone by taking complete control of his rope and lowering himself, slowly and smoothly back down to terra firma. A massive achievement for him! 

It took a huge amount of determination and resilience on his part to push through his fears and overcome them, putting his trust in others and in his own ability to succeed at a challenge unlike any he had previously faced but he did it…. and actually came back for a second go too!

This is just one example of the wonderful moments I have had the pleasure of being part of at Bendrigg. Our guests have reduced me to tears many times as I continue to see them achieve what, in their minds (or those of their carers, teachers and parents) was, seemingly, “impossible!!”

Nothing is impossible, no problem insurmountable, sometimes we just need a little help and guidance – mixed with determination, resilience and a positive “can do” attitude.

Liz xx



Our people are one of our charities 7 core values and Liz is one of the most kind, caring and thoughtful people we are lucky enough to have on our team.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, our staff team remain of paramount importance to us, simply put, Bendrigg 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


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




A Brief Story Of My Bendrigg Journey

A Brief Story Of My Bendrigg Journey

By Dominic Bingham


Dom joined Bendrigg as a Trainee Tutor at the beginning of 2020 but his journey at Bendrigg started long before this year. Below he tells us of his Bendrigg Journey.

My first experience of Bendrigg Trust was when I was in my first year of university. I came to Bendrigg’s amazing climbing wall, to experience ways that climbing can be made accessible to everyone. This sparked a light in me and made me think “this is where I want to go in life”.

Growing up, both my parents worked with disabled people and I had previously worked in a care home for adults with autism and learning difficulties. So that summer, I decided to volunteer. I came again that year on multiple occasions, and again several more times in the years to follow.

Each and every time I volunteered there was an abundance of heart felt and breath taking moments. Things as simple as seeing one client who earlier was being hoisted to then be given the time to independently unstrap and take off his climbing harness. Also having noticed at least one person from each group being unsure about doing an activity, typically being climbing, abseiling or the zip-wire, and one way or another they were always able to achieve and take part in the activity with support from the Bendrigg staff.

These moments really made me look up to the staff and appreciate the difference they were making to these people’s lives. This influenced my studies and in my third year of university I undertook research into the impact that Bendrigg was making to these people’s lives in my dissertation. I looked at the transfer-ability and impact of a group trip when they go back to school life and the results were amazing.

All of the schools that took part in my study, found the short term impact from the residential, didn’t just stay the same, but actually continued to develop in the short-mid and even long term. My studies also found that not one pupil reverted back to their former selves.

There were comments from the teachers along the lines of “the pupils are more confident in their abilities and their ability to be independent since the residential” and “I can see an increase of willingness from pupils to take part in class” and “they’ve gained a better understanding of others abilities”.

One school even mentioned pupils (including some with Autism) performing on stage in front of an audience, that before the residential, would have been a significant challenge for them.

Now I feel incredibly honoured to be working at Bendrigg as a trainee tutor. I’m enjoying being one of the people that make a difference, like the staff I volunteered alongside and looked up to for so long. 


Our people are one of our charities 7 core values and Dom has been a great addition to the Bendrigg family.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, our staff team remain of paramount importance to us, simply put, Bendrigg 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

Rare Disease Film Festival Awards

Rare Disease UK Hosts The First Rare Film Festival Awards Helping To Raise Awareness For Rare Diseases.

We were grateful to receive funding from the Scottish Power Foundation in 2019 towards our Adventure For All Project – Promoting, Sharing, Inspiring. Part of the project included funds for us to create several short films to help promote the power of adventure activities for people with disabilities.

One of the films focused on Pip Rowlands, who first came to Bendrigg when she was just 5 years old. The story takes us on an incredible journey through Pip’s climbing journey and the impact that it has had on her day to day life, living with a rare condition called DDX3X.

Category : Best Agency Charity Collaboration

Film – Climbing : The Ripple Effect

We Won!

We are thrilled to announce that our film won in the category and we couldn’t be happier. We couldn’t have done it without the amazing Adamedia who we worked alongside to create the film, and of course the stars of the show Pip, Alix, Clare & Gary, and Pip’s climbing coach Kara.

Funding from Scottish Power Foundation was topped up by the BMC which meant we could create this film which helps to not only raise awareness for Pip’s rare condition DDX3X but also will hopefully inspire more people to try new activities and perhaps even take up climbing as a new hobby!

People’s Choice Award

There is a people’s choice award now open for you to cast your vote for your favourite film.

Click here to watch all the shortlisted videos and place your vote!


Congratulations to everyone who entered a film, the competition was tough and we thought all of the videos shown were amazing in their own right.


Check out the rest of the films in our Adventure For All Series on our YouTube channel.



The Power Of Corporate Partnership

Q8 Takeover Day

Guest Blog by Q8 Corporate Volunteers

Hey everyone, Q8 Corporate academy & Impact International are in the Lake District today helping out our friends at Bendrigg Trust, a charity that offers services for disabled people – their mission is to promote inclusion, encourage independence and build self-confidence through the safe provision of adventurous activities.

We’ve learnt some amazing skills on this epic sunny day and have enjoyed meeting all the special guests, amazing staff and exploring the stunning 15 acre grounds!

We have loads to show and share with you today. Not only have we heard all about their work but we’re not leaving without a bang and have been working hard, to help contribute something to this fantastic charity.

Check out the short video we created below :





We’d like to leave you with this quote by Winston Churchill

“We make a living by what we get, But we make a life by what we give”

After a fantastic day, this is our biggest takeaway. It is great to give back!



You too can make a huge impact at Bendrigg Trust find out how you can help here.



Kids to Adults Shows 2020

We had such a great time at the Kidz2Adultz North event last November that we’ve decided to exhibit at the North, Middle & Scotland Events this year!

Here’s what you need to know about kidz 2 adultz :

What it Kidz 2 Adultz?

Disabled Living has an enviable reputation of organising the very prestigious Kidz to Adultz event since 2001 and now hold five of the largest FREE UK exhibitions totally dedicated to children and young adults up to 25 years with disabilities and additional needs, their parents, carers and all the professionals who support and work with them.

Kidz to Adultz Exhibitions

Have you thought about visiting a Kidz to Adultz exhibition but you're not sure what to expect? Take a look at this short video! ????For more information:

Posted by Kidz to Adultz Exhibitions on Thursday, 3 October 2019


  • 100 – 180 exhibitors with the most up to date advice & information on mobility, funding, seating, beds, communication, sensory, education, housing, employment, transport, sports, leisure & much more!
  • Seminars take place alongside the exhibition covering a wide range of topics and interests to families and carers of children with disabilities and the professionals who work with them.

Where and When Do The Events Take Place?


Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Coventry

Wednesday 4th March 2020

9:30am – 4:30pm


Farnborough International Exhibition Centre

Thursday 7th May 2020

9:30am – 4:30pm

Wales & West

Newport International Conference Centre

Thursday 2nd July 2020

9:30am – 4:30pm


Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh

Thursday 10th September

9:30am – 4:30pm


Eventcity Manchester

Thursday 12th November

9:30am – 4:30pm

Is it Free to attend?

Yes, there are no costs to attend and you can order your tickets on the Kidz exhibitions website by clicking on each of the events above.

We hope to see you there!

Bendrigg will be there with a smile as always ready to answer any questions about our accessible outdoor adventure courses so don’t forget to come and see us.


Read more here >>>> about what we do


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.




Need Help With Funding? We’ve Got You Covered!

Bendrigg Trust Funding Pack

We recognise that some of our service users often need financial support to be able to come away on a trip to Bendrigg.

With statistics like these, we felt it was important that we do something to help. Which is why we have created a digital funding pack.

What is the funding pack?

The pack is made up of relevant grant making trusts and funders, who specifically fund costs towards holidays and carers for disabled people. This means that if you’d like to come on a trip to Bendrigg, but are struggling to afford the cost, you can simply request a copy of the pack, find a relevant funder and apply to them for financial support.

Who is it for?

It has been created to be used by all our service user groups. That includes :

  • Schools
  • Organisations
  • Individuals
  • Charities
  • Families

There are then further options within each of these sections to help you find the most relevant funders that could help you with the cost towards a trip to Bendrigg.

How can I get a copy of the pack?

All you need to do is ask! Simply call us on 01539 723766 or send us a request via our contact page HERE

Are you a family with a disabled child? We recently wrote a blog piece highlighting some of the services that are available to you…. Check it out here.


Be Burns Aware

Burn & Scald accidents can be horrific and very painful. They not only cause physical injuries but can often result in psychological trauma. This can be particularly true for young people who often struggle with body image and self confidence. 

Support For Burns Survivors

The Scottish Burned Children’s Club is an organisation that support burns survivors. They came on a residential to Bendrigg this year with the aim to :

  • Bring burns survivors together so they don’t feel alone in what they are going through.
  • Provide opportunities to make new friends and relax in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable.
  • Through trying new activities and facing fears they overcome things independently and with the support of others, building confidence and trust in relationships with the people around them.
  • Burns survivors can often have intensive periods of medical treatment, operations and other procedures. An annual camp is a great chance for everyone to let loose and have fun again!

Our latest video in the Adventure For All Series follows the Scottish Burned Children’s Club on their week residential at Bendrigg. It’s amazing to see all the participants growing in confidence as they face their fears and take on new challenges, and is such a positive step forward to helping them rebuild their self esteem. They also had such a lot of fun, experiencing all that a residential and the great outdoors has to offer!

I don’t think our burns are what make us unique, it’s just who we are. It’s a mark that’s part of who we are and where we came from – Craig, SBCC


Burns Awareness and Prevention

Did You Know…

Prevention and good first aid are key to reducing the number of burns and scalds occurring in the UK every single day.

  • 7071 Children were seriously burned or scalded in 2018
  • Young children and the elderly are most vulnerable
  • The majority of accidents occur as a result of an accident that could easily be prevented
  • Scalds from Hot Drinks are the most common burn injury to children
  • Electric Hobs, Hair Straighteners, Bowl Spills, Irons & Fireworks are some of the other common causes of serious burns and scalds.

Take Care This Festive Season…

Watching fireworks is great fun. But taking care is important especially as children are more likely to get hurt by fireworks than adults. Here are some simple things that can help to reduce the risk to your family.

Sparkler Safety

Children under five are too young to safely hold a sparkler and don’t really understand why they might be dangerous. Avoid giving them one to hold.

Babies or Children can wriggle in your arms and reach out unexpectedly. Avoid holding a baby or child when you have a sparkler in your hand.

Children over five will still need you to supervise them when they use sparklers. It’s safest if they wear gloves when they’re holding them. They might seem like “fireworks lite” but sparkles can reach a temperature of 2000 degrees Celsius! Have a bucket of water handy to put them in so that no-one can pick up a hot one off the ground. Teach them not to wave sparklers near anyone else or run with them.

Remember… Always hold sparklers at arms length & wear gloves when handling them, follow the age guidance above and always put sparklers in a bucket of water when they go out so that no-one an pick a hot one off the ground.

Firework Safety

Most firework injuries happen at family parties or private displays, so understanding the dangers of fireworks can prevent injuries and in some cases save lives.

  • Avoid wearing loose or potentially flammable clothing
  • Always wear gloves when handling sparklers and fireworks
  • Always have buckets of water ready to put out small fires or to cool sparklers
  • Make sure children are supervised around fireworks and bonfires
  • Never drink alcohol if you’re setting off fireworks
  • Keep animals indoors and close curtains – frightened animals running around can cause accidents
  • Only purchase fireworks that are sold by a registered seller
  • Follow instructions carefully and light fireworks at arm’s length
  • Ensure spectators stand back from bonfires and fireworks
  • Never go back to a firework that has been lit – even if it hasn’t gone off

First Aid Advice – The 3 C’s

  1. COOL the burn with a running cold tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound)
  2. CALL for help 999
  3. COVER with clingfilm or a sterile non-fluffy dressing or cloth. Making sure the injured person is kept warm.

Don’t… burst blisters or apply creams or lotions. 

For more detailed information about the treatment and prevention of burns and scalds please visit the NHS website :


Other Sources of Information

Information for this blog post has been written with guidance from the following sources.

Changing Faces 

Scottish Burned Children’s Club,

Children’s Burns Trust

CAPT (Child Accident Prevention Trust)

NHS website :


Why not check out our other Adventure For All Videos? Click here

Or find out more about our residential courses