A Podcast With Cicerone Press

Inclusion and accessibility in the outdoors

A Podcast with Cicerone Press & Bendrigg Trust

We were recently invited to record a podcast with our wonderful corporate supporters, Cicerone Press, to talk about inclusion and accessibility in the outdoors.

This wonderful Kendal based business have supported Bendrigg over the last few years raising over £15,000 to support our work.

In the podcast we chat about :
*The services and experiences offered here at Bendrigg Trust
*The amazing impact of outdoor activities
*How Bendrigg have adapted throughout the pandemic
*How you can support our work

Click here to join in the conversation with Amy & Hannah from Cicerone Press and Martha our Fundraising and Marketing Officer here at Bendrigg Trust.

Read more about how Cicerone has supported the work of Bendrigg Trust here

 

Want to become a corporate partner? “Together We Can Make A Difference” Find out more about how your business can support Bendrigg and the impact your support will have.

 

 

Save Outdoor Ed

Save Outdoor Ed

A campaign to save the UK’s Outdoor Education Centres from closure

saveoutdoored

The outdoor learning sector delivers formative educational experiences to at least 5m students across the UK every year. The sector provides over 15,000 jobs and £700m to the UK economy.

However the Impact of Covid-19 continues to be felt across all areas of Outdoor learning with reports showing an estimated lost revenue of £275 million until mid March 2021 and each day over 70,000 under 18’s and 20,000 over 18’s missing out on valuable learning experiences.

Outdoor Learning Covid-19 Impact Survey

The report conducted by UK Outdoors paints a bleak picture of the devastating impact that Covid-19 is having on the Outdoor Education sector, regardless of the efforts made by many to diversify.

Over 80% of respondents rely on residential school visits for at least half of their income

Two thirds of 127 respondents expect their income to fall by over 80% year on year

30% of respondents have disposed of assets to generate income and half of all respondents are expecting their April 2021 reserves to be down 80% on February 2020 levels

In order for the sector to survive the pandemic we need the Government to step in and provide a support package for outdoor education centres, as they have in Scotland and Ireland.

We need to shout about the #SaveOutdoorEd campaign loud enough so that the Government hear us. We can do this through telling them about the amazing impact that outdoor education has on our countries young people, and the vital role outdoor centres will play in the recovery and learning of young people after the pandemic. **Information at the bottom of this post on how you can support the campaign**

 

The Impact of Our Outdoor Activity Centre

Bendrigg Trust is a specialist outdoor activity centre which provides residential opportunities for people of all abilities including profoundly disabled and disadvantaged people. We enable people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access adventure activities, the opportunity to do so and it is often life changing.

Our Principal Nick Liley has led the centre through an incredibly difficult time to maintain our stability as a charity, but this stability has been dependant on the Governments furlough leave scheme and significant internal fundraising efforts.

I am unwavering in my belief that Bendrigg Trust will be key to the recovery of people with disabilities following the pandemic. People with disabilities will be more isolated, have more anxiety, be less independent, be less active, have more severe health conditions and will have fewer life chances than ever before.

Bendrigg Trust will be part of the solution, renewing peoples self-confidence, independence and self-esteem. We will reconnect people with nature and with other people within the disabled community. We will have a very clear task ahead of us once things reopen and it is imperative that we receive the financial support from Government to do it.

– Nick Liley, Bendrigg Principal

 

 

Throughout the pandemic we have kept in touch with our visitors to find out their current needs and how Bendrigg can play a part in helping them through this difficult time. The truth is that most of our visitors are in a desperate situation. Many families with members who have additional needs are struggling through the pandemic a statement which is backed up by this report from the office for national statistics.

Of all the worries they had, more than 1 in 4 (27%) disabled people were most concerned about the impact on their well-being

Our research and communications showed that families are desperate for a safe outdoor space, to get away from the same 4 walls safely, reconnect with people and enable their family member with additional needs to build their independence again.

In order to support our visitors through the pandemic, we gained our Covid Good To Go badge and opened up our grounds for families to enjoy a safe accessible outdoor space with access to an accessible toilet. The demand for this was huge and peoples feedback showed how much of an impact this service had after shielding indoors for months on end. Once restrictions lifted further we applied for and secured funding to be able to offer accessible day activities for families, college groups and adults with a disability. We also ran our first ever “Winter Wonderland” trail with great success again, the feedback showed just what a huge difference having access to a safe outdoor space meant to them.

Despite the challenges faced, Bendrigg rose to the challenge and were able to welcome a total of 484 participants along with 413 carers/parents/family members since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Client Testimonial – The Whittingham’s

It has been a stressful & emotional time for anyone, but I can only share the impact on my son who has Autism & ADHD. Having to socially isolate has had a huge knock on effect on my son’s overall happiness, motivation and self esteem.

My son has major difficulties with social integration & social communication.  The importance of being included in groups in order to improve these skills, to feel included, to try new opportunities, to exercise, are so beneficial for his Autism & ADHD. Unfortunately any groups he attended, suddenly shut in March 2020 with very short notice including his school. Some groups have not been able to reopen, or have closed for good and 1-1 support with his carer stopped. My sons wellbeing has deteriorated because of the nature of the support which is aimed at increasing impendence and confidence through social, recreational & leisure activities within the local community.

The lockdown was sudden, there was no time to prepare for the disruption and change in routine. We were suddenly isolated.  Being autistic he finds social integration & communication very difficult – all the services & activities to help him with these skills stopped. He no longer was included, no longer able to develop and improve these key skills, and no longer able to feel empowered.

Every time the rules change it causes great confusion and conflict which results in fear, anxiety & frustration. We live in the countryside and normally see very few people, but when the restrictions lifted, suddenly there was an influx of people passing our home. No way were we able to go for a walk, he feared we would have to pass people in the narrow lanes and felt very vulnerable and anxious.

Being active in the outdoors has always aided in my son being able to re-focus and enjoy all of the benefits to wellbeing through being in the outdoors in the sunlight and fresh air.

Bendrigg rose to the challenge facing Covid 19 to create worthwhile outdoor experiences through creative problem solving and provided amazing opportunities that are very satisfying in meeting my sons needs.

Going to Bendrigg gave my son the opportunity to get outdoors again, somewhere he felt safe. It gave him a great sense of freedom not being controlled by the environment, virus & people around him. I believe it was a massive achievement in the face of adversity.

The activities seemed to have an immediate positive effect! Not only was it great for him to be active which helps us to have a healthier mind & body. His confidence was brimming, he was being more independent and was able to make choices with little prompting. He wasn’t clingy or hesitant, initiated conversation with the instructors  (he says the staff at Bendrigg are always friendly & supportive) & within our support  bubble we shared excitement and had lots to talk about regarding the activities, offering peer support  and encouragement and even a little bit of healthy competition.  The whole day had such a great sense of fun, I hadn’t seen my son laugh, smile,  have fun & be at total ease for months.

Through preparation, we felt safe and reassured in being able to give my son these new experiences and challenges. We were able to take part in a great range of activities in a safe & secure way – meeting the Covid 19 government requirements.

The activities at Bendrigg have had a lasting positive impact on my son, that will last a life time.  I’m sure many will remember their time at Bendrigg during the Pandemic.

What Can You Do To Support The Campaign?

There are many ways in which you can support the campaign to save outdoor education centres :

While Government restrictions make the normal operation of Residential Centres impossible, we implore them to provide financial assistance to help this viable & worthwhile industry survive this period of forced closure.

  • Write to your local MP

Once you’ve signed the petition above, you can find your local MP’s details here. Write to them to voice your support for the Save Outdoor Ed campaign sharing your personal experience of outdoor education and the impact it has had on you. Call upon them to provide financial support for the sector to ensure centres survive the pandemic.

  • Share this blog post on social media, via email or whatsapp to your friends and family asking them to take action. On social media use the hashtag #SaveOutdoorEd and tag @BendriggTrust so we can share/retweet your posts.

You could post about how outdoor education centres have impacted your life or someone you know add photos or a video telling people what you’ve done to help and why you think this campaign is so important.

  • Set up a fundraiser or make a donation to your local outdoor education centre

If the Government do not offer a package of support, we will be reliant on fundraising through trusts, foundations and the general public.

You could fundraise in aid of Bendrigg Trust to help ensure our survival so that we can be here after the pandemic to enable more disabled people to have life changing adventures.

If you’d like to make a donation to Bendrigg you can do so online here alternatively you can email Martha our fundraising and marketing officer or call our office Monday – Friday 9-5 and one of our team will be happy to help.

 

Thank you for your support together we can get through this

 

 

Wellbeing Weekend

Wellbeing Weekend At Bendrigg Trust

Bendrigg Trust are teaming up with Mind Over Mountains, to bring you a very special Wellbeing Weekend. It’s going to be the ultimate fusion of outdoor adventures and wellbeing activities to help inspire, boost self-confidence and build self-help skills to sustain good mental health.

The King’s Fund published a report showing that physical health problems significantly increase the risk of poor mental health, and vice versa.

More than 4 million people in England with a long-term physical health condition also have mental health problems, and many of them experience significantly poorer health outcomes and reduced quality of life as a result.”

The King’s Fund.

Overlap between long-term conditions and mental health problems in England

Wellbeing Weekend
The Kings Fund Report

Source: Naylor C, Parsonage M, McDaid D, Knapp M, Fossey M, Galea A (2012). Report. Long-term conditions and mental health. The cost of co- morbidities The King’s Fund and Centre for Mental Health

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing us into lockdown and vulnerable people to shield for a year, we know that now more than ever, learning to take good care of our mental and physical health is of huge importance.

The Wellbeing Weekend has been designed to help people rebuild their confidence, gain back some independence and take part in wellbeing activities to help towards good mental health.

Teaming up with mental health charity, Mind Over Mountains, we are able to combine the very best of accessible adventure and wellbeing activities to bring you a jam packed weekend that’s sure to motivate and inspire.

This 3 night course will encompass :

Physical Challenges – You’ll take part in several physical activities such as canoeing, caving or climbing & short walks in the stunning nearby national parks.

Mental Focus – There will be several mindfulness sessions over the course of the weekend to help relax, unwind, reflect and re-centre.

Inspiration – Mind Over Mountains Co-founder, serial adventurer and mental health activist Alex Staniforth will be present throughout the weekend and will provide an inspirational talk about overcoming adversity.

Connection – Human connection is vital to good mental health. Professional NLP Coaching, counselling & support will be available throughout the weekend and you’ll have the opportunity for making new friends through shared experiences.

The Great Outdoors – Using the outdoors as a source of nature therapy & evening camp fire sessions with group reflection/journaling.

Wellbeing Weekend

Mind Over Mountains combines the therapeutic power of adventure with holistic well-being to provide a fun and safe space to bring people back together, and with Bendrigg’s expertise this will be a fantastic and transformational opportunity for all who take part”.

Alex Staniforth

Course Details

Dates

Friday 29th October 2021 – Monday 1st November 2021

Prices

Participant £485         Carers £425

The price is fully inclusive of:

  • Accommodation in our stunning Acorn House building (fully accessible)
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner for the duration of your stay
  • A full programme of outdoor & wellbeing activities (as outlined above)
  • A journal and pen

This Wellbeing Weekend has been specifically designed for Adults aged 18+ with a physical disability and it is recommended that you bring a carer or friend with you for personal care, physical and emotional support.

How to book

To book your place please contact Jo on 01539 723766 or get in touch via our contact page.

Financial Support

If you would like to attend the course but need financial support to do so, there are several trusts and foundations offering grants for short breaks that may be able to help. We’ve put together a digital funding pack with a list of funders so that you’re able to select a trust and apply for a grant to help towards the cost of your trip. Please contact us to register your interest in the course and to request a copy of the funding pack.

 

We’d like to say a huge thank you to 1LifetoLive who have provided us with a grant so that we’re able to offer this wellbeing weekend at a subsidised cost.

We hope this will be the first of many Wellbeing Weekends here at Bendrigg If you would be interested in attending a wellbeing course specifically for people with Learning Disabilities or any other disability please contact us to register your interest.

Overcome Barriers To Access The Great Outdoors

Barriers to participation

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes barriers as being more than just physical obstacles.

“Factors in a person’s environment that, through their absence or presence, limit functioning and create disability. These include aspects such as:

  • a physical environment that is not accessible,
  • lack of relevant assistive technology (assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices),
  • negative attitudes of people towards disability,
  • services, systems and policies that are either nonexistent or that hinder the involvement of all people with a health condition in all areas of life.”

Often there are multiple barriers that can make it extremely difficult or even impossible for people with disabilities to function. Here are the seven most common barriers.

  • Attitudinal
  • Communication
  • Physical
  • Policy
  • Programmatic
  • Social
  • Transportation

(Taken from CDC Article – Read Full Article here)

At Bendrigg our mission is to give people the opportunity to smash through these barriers by doing things they may have never thought possible. We know that what we do helps to improve our participants confidence and self esteem. The hope is that upon completing their course at Bendrigg, each participant feels confident enough to overcome new barriers and face any challenges head on with a “I can do this” positive mental attitude.

The outdoor environment gives us a unique sense of freedom and we believe it’s extremely important that people of all abilities have access to the outdoors, not only as part of a residential, but on a regular basis back at home.

As well as an endless list of health benefits, time spent outdoors is proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels, eliminate mental fatigue,  improve memory, boost your immune system and work wonders for your mental health.

6 ideas and resources to help overcome barriers when accessing the great outdoors


1. The Wildlife Trust – Nature Reserves

There are many therapeutic benefits for people with disabilities to immerse themselves in nature. Nature reserves often offer a quieter environment which can help to restore balance in an over stimulated mind.

The Wildlife Trust have a number of accessible nature reserves across the country which offer close encounters with UK wildlife. From bird watching in a hide to exploring ancient woodland, nature reserves offer a quiet and exciting opportunity to connect with nature and wildlife.


2. Gardening & Horticultural Therapy

The therapeutic benefits of gardening on body and soul are well recognised nowadays. Countless reports have demonstrated the positive effects on physical, psychological and social health.

Thrive uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable. They have 3 centres in the UK but also have access to volunteering projects around the UK that you could get involved in. Some of your local gardens may take on volunteers with the view to help people learn new skills, develop their confidence with gardening and meet new people. Helmsley Walled Garden are a great example of this!

Kingwood is a charity that provide support for people with Asperger Syndrome and Autism, they have put together a detailed report called Green Spaces, which explores outdoor environments for adults with Autism, you can read the full report online – click on the first search result to download the report here.


3. The Outdoor Guide – Access Tog

Julia Bradbury has developed a fantastic website “The Outdoor Guide” which has it’s very own Access TOG section with heaps of wheel-friendly walks across the UK. Each walk has been tried, tested and written up by Debbie North. The blog is full of helpful and practical advice including reviews of all terrain wheelchairs.

An outright purchase of an all terrain wheelchair can be expensive, but with a little research you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the amount of local places that hire them out free of charge. Many National Trust sites do this, including Tarn HowsMalham Tarn and Fountains Abbey – You must call ahead to pre-book.


4. Help With Transport Costs

Government and local councils offer discounts schemes and passes for disabled travellers and their carers. From rail cards to bus passes and dial-a-ride door-to-door minibus services – you can find out more information on this helpful page on The Mencap website.


5. Tackling Negative Attitudes

People with disabilities face many barriers every day–from physical obstacles in buildings to systemic barriers in employment and civic programs. Yet, often, the most difficult barriers to overcome are attitudes other people carry regarding people with disabilities.

A remedy for this is familiarity, getting people with and without disabilities to mingle as coworkers, associates and social acquaintances. In time, most of the attitudes will give way to comfort, respect and friendship. For example, volunteers to Bendrigg often come to us for the first time, not having much experience or knowledge of the difficulties that people with disabilities face. After having volunteered with us, they learn the importance of recognising a persons ability over there disability. They also share their experience with friends, families or work colleagues and become advocates, promoting equality and challenging peoples perceptions of disability.


6. Research local facilities and resources

After a quick google search or a look on Euan’s Guide, you may be surprised at what accessible facilities are available in your area. Whether it’s accessible walks, a quiet hour at your local swimming pool or accessible events, it’s always worth researching to see what’s available close by.

At Bendrigg we offer regular services and clubs for people with disabilities in our local community.

These services include :

  • a regular inclusive climbing club and outdoor rock days during half term!
  • our aiming high community playing field, complete with accessible roundabout, swing, nest swing and a range of adaptive bikes and trikes for all the family to enjoy.
  • sensory room open sessions every Monday morning excluding bank holidays – Bendrigg opens it’s sensory room to members of the public for 2 x 1 hour sessions in our fantastic sensory room.
  • Last but not least, our inclusive activity festival is coming up on the 28th September 2019. Our accessible and inclusive activity festival gives everyone to opportunity to come and have a taste of adventure! From flying down the zip wire, to climbing and abseiling – it’s a fun filled day for all the family to enjoy.

If you’d like to know more about what we do here at Bendrigg please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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