Cumbrian Charities Reopen In True ‘Can-Do’ Calvert Style!
On Monday 21 June, Calvert Lakes and its sister organisation, Calvert Reconnections (a specialist acquired brain injury rehabilitation centre), will open their doors after 15 long months, with Covid-19 secure policies in place and all outdoor activities available.
And who better to help mark the occasion than two individuals who have been fundamental in helping secure the organisations’ future – fundraisers extraordinaire, Oliver Voysey and Charles Dean.
The future of the organisations were thrown into doubt when it was revealed in late 2020, that Calvert Lakes had lost over £1 million of income as a result of the pandemic. However the troops rallied as the Calvert Bounce Back Appeal was launched and two unexpected saviours appeared on the horizon – Oliver and Charles.
Plucky, thirteen-year-old Oliver Voysey, brain injury survivor and Calvert-regular, mobilised what became known as ‘Oliver’s Calvert Army’. Over the course of three months, he helped raise funds for the Calvert Bounce Back Appeal by taking on a series of challenges, including walking on a treadmill for 13 minutes, standing independently for 13 seconds, completing a 13-minute walk and scoring 13 goals in a penalty shoot-out. Oliver's campaign went viral after he and his parents Sarah and Gary and sister Elizabeth appeared on national television and radio. In the end over 3000 people joined ‘Oliver’s Calvert Army’ and took part in their own themed challenges.
Enter Charles Dean, a 46-year-old disabled dad from Wigton. In January 2021, Charles set himself the challenge of covering the 874-mile distance between Land’s End to John O’Groats on Cumbria’s roadsby wheelchair, in just ten weeks. In March, having battled rain, snow, sleet and hail, Charles hit his target two weeks ahead of schedule. On one day, he covered over 53 miles - the equivalent of two full marathons.
By April, Charles and Oliver along with the time and effort of countless other fundraisers and the hard work of the Calvert Teamhad raised an astonishing £730,000 for the appeal securing the charities’ “immediate future” and a date was cautiously set for the centres’ reopening.
However, fundraising remains key. While this most recent fundraising appeal has mitigated the impact of the pandemic in 2020, the Calvert team must continue fundraising to fill the gap of six months lost income in 2021.
Fundraising Manager, Jennifer Scott commented: “We have been overwhelmed by the public’s response to our lockdown appeal. However, like many other charities, we still have some way to go on our journey to recovery and continued fundraising is key to that.”
She continued: “There are so many ways that the public can support us and every little really does help. From becoming a ‘regular giver’ by making monthly donations via our website to volunteering leg power to run in the London Marathon or the Great North Run later this year.”
Giles Mounsey-Heysham, Chair of Lake District Calvert Trust: “We are all looking forward to welcoming guests back from Monday. What has become very clear over the past 15 months is that, once this pandemic is over, the ‘Calvert experience’ will be needed more than ever - not only by our current beneficiaries but also the many people affected by Covid-19 and the impact it has had on everyone’s lives, health and wellbeing.”
He concluded: “A very big thank you to everyone who has supported us financially and with their good wishes. Please do continue to support if you possibly can. This will ensure that we can continue to be there for our disabled visitors and their families through next winter into 2022 and beyond.”
For further information on the Lake District Calvert Trust and its Emergency Bounce Back Appeal please go to www.calvertlakes.org.uk