Individual Adult Courses
Hello, my name is Thomas Kandiah, I have Cerebral Palsy (C.P) which affects both legs and my right hand, and I’m a manual wheelchair user.
I went to Bendrigg Trust in September 2019 for the Adult Open Course and had a fantastic time! I’ve been away on quite a few activity holidays now, but going to Bendrigg was one of the best experiences. My accommodation was vast, with an enormous bathroom perfect for someone in a wheelchair, which was perfect for my needs.
I was super impressed with all the activities because they gave just the right balance of being challenging without feeling un-achievable. I can remember having some reservations about the Canoeing because my core strength is not the best, and going on the water makes me a little nervous. With that said, the whole team at Bendrigg provided me with a special seating system and reassured me that because the boats were rafted together I wouldn’t move around too much. This meant I had an amazing time out on the water.
I was also super impressed with the Climbing. I go every two to three weeks back home, so have good strength in my legs to climb, I just need a bit of support now and then. I had little to no trouble going up the wall and completed 2 climbs without much assistance.
When I wasn’t climbing, under the supervision of the Tutors, I was supporting the other climbers by b-laying. I can’t stress this point enough. The fact that they involved everyone to lend a helping hand, is super impressive for me to see. As I said before, I’ve been to many activity holidays now, and most of the time, when I’m waiting for my turn, I will be just sitting around doing nothing. Which isn’t much fun! So the fact that I was asked to lend a hand, made me feel valued for being able to help other people. More importantly, I also felt like part of a team. Which is a rare feeling for many people with a disability.
Overall, I had a fantastic time and enjoyed every second of my time at Bendrigg. Every member of staff are a joy and easy to talk to with great knowledge and understanding of disabilities. The centre is well equipped with the specialist equipment to aid the person to get the most out of the activities. The special seat on the canoe is a perfect example; without that, I would never be on the boat, never mind feel safe while rowing. The whole staff team were always encouraging us to be as independent as possible.
The most important part for me is that they give others the opportunity to take part in lending a helping hand, which is only a small thing but makes a huge difference to build up confidence.
I would highly recommend Bendrigg Trust to anyone who’s looking for a holiday that provides a safe, fun environment with a dedicated team of people. Everyone putting their own time and energy to give us all a marvellous and unforgettable time that you will remember forever.
After my trip to Bendrigg I’ve taken up wheelchair tennis and have kept up with Climbing and Archery. I joined an Archery club near where I lived and recently passed a beginner course. I’m also looking at buying my very first bow in a couple of weeks after joining the Archery GB club and am very much looking forward to seeing where the Archery opportunities take me in future.
I just want to say a massive Thank You to everyone at Bendrigg Trust and to those who shared the experience with me. You all made it such a special week that I will definitely remember for a long time!
Thomas has also written his own book about the “Hardship of Growing Up On Wheels” which is for sale online.