Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


For over 30 years, Calvert Trust Kielder (CTK) has pioneered accessible sporting adventure in the countryside for disabled children and adults. Set within the stunning Kielder Water & Forest Park, the centre hosts families, special schools, disability organisations and independent guests travelling alone who require respite care, and they meet the needs of people covering the full range of physical, learning and sensory disabilities.
I first came across this wonderful charity seven years ago, and after hearing about the positive impact they make to the lives of disabled people and their families, I feel passionate about doing as much as I can to support them. Over the years we have raised funds by taking part in challenge events, volunteered at fundraising events, collected cartridges to recycle for funds, and sponsored events such as their Golf Day, Annual Ball, and Kielder Quest (Corporate Challenge).

The ‘Freedom on the Lake’ project will increase the sailing fleet of CTK with the purchase of an RS Venture Keel Sailing Boat. This powerful and exhilarating sailing boat can accommodate up to eight people, and will complement their existing fleet of a motor boat, gigs, canoes, and kayaks. By challenging disability through water-based activities, even the most profoundly disabled child or adult has the chance to become more independent and to achieve new goals.
The RS Venture Keel has been designed with stability in mind and can be adapted to accommodate disabled people, thereby allowing users to experience the freedom that sailing brings. Its wide bottomed hull gives it a greater level of stability, whilst the addition of two forward facing seats enables disabled users to sail the boat themselves, as opposed to being ‘taken out’.

Over the last five years, the number of visitors to CTK has steadily increased. They embrace inclusion and positively encourage disabled and able-bodied people to take part in activities together, and they have worked hard to promote their drop-in days which enable visitors to the area to experience a taste of adventurous outdoor activities. The centre itself has over 5,000 visitors each year, and an additional 1,000+ access their activities on a day visit basis.
The sailing fleet is in use, in one form or another, almost every day from February through to mid-November. The increase in the number of guests has naturally led to a need for increased facilities, i.e. a larger and more varied sailing fleet. They have already invested in buoyancy aids and lifejackets for babies and younger children, to cater for the growing demand from families for this type of activity. As an activity centre that caters for people with disabilities, they also have the specialist equipment and skilled staff to enable those with even the most extreme physical disabilities, to enjoy the thrill and exhilaration of skimming across Kielder Water.

A couple of the boats they already own are now reaching quite an age, and will require replacing within the next few years. But it is not a viable process to wait until a boat is out of action before applying for funding and purchasing a new one. This would have a detrimental effect on visitors as they, quite simply, would not be able to satisfy demand whilst waiting for decisions from funders. However, CTK have a proven track record of being able to move quickly once funding has been approved.

With a cost of £10,000, and a lifespan of at least 15 years, the RS Venture Keel Sailing Boat would be a long-term investment. She would bring hours of enjoyment to hundreds of people every year, with guests benefitting from a sense of personal achievement and fulfilment, and a growth in self-confidence, as well as learning sailing skills which would enable them to participate more fully in the activity again.

Historically, CTK has named their boats after the person or organisation that has funded them; it would be great to see the ‘Aviva’ sailing across Kielde

Project Video

Calvert Trust Kielder

Moment of Pride

The dedicated staff ensure that every disabled child and adult has the opportunity to participate in adventure activity; to be able to take risks and push their boundaries, to leave their wheelchair and feel free and independent, to learn about their own abilities and what CAN be achieved.

Location: Kielder