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THE UK’s first ever activity activity centre for disabled people is in danger of permanent closure.

Calvert Lakes in Keswick relies heavily on special school educational visits as one of its main sources of income but the lockdown and blanket ban on schools taking residential trips has wiped out visitor numbers.

While the Trust responded with an internal restructuring programme and diversifying into new areas such as B&B accommodation, it still saw a reduction of over £1m in income.

The riding centre and hydrotherapy pool are now closed for the foreseeable future, and with funds set to run out next March an Emergency Bounce Back Appeal has been launched to save the centre, which opened in the 1970s.

Giles Mounsey-Heysham, chairman of the trustees, said: “We are now staring down the barrel. The pandemic has left a huge, one-million-pound gap in our income. To survive the winter and bounce back in Spring 2021, we have to act now to seek external support.

“Covid-19 has had a deep impact on the Trust and a number of associated factors have conspired to make it a perfect storm. We have lost over two thirds of our visitors and income.

“Having now closed our doors due to the second lockdown, that position will only worsen and our contingency funds will be exhausted by March 2021, despite really careful financial management.

“Our trustees and staff have worked really hard to introduce alternative revenue streams and cut costs wherever possible but it has proved impossible to weather the economic storm on our own.”

Giles continued: “Over the years we have received very generous support from so many funders. We need and appreciate their support now more than ever.

“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.

“We desperately want to continue supporting people with disabilities to benefit from the incredible accessible adventure the Trust has pioneered. Please help Lake District Calvert Trust Bounce Back.”

The charity’s Emergency Bounce Back Appeal will include a series of short videos in which disabled people and volunteers describe the positive and life-enhancing experiences they have enjoyed when visiting the Trust.

They will be shown at www.calvertlakes.org.uk  and shared on social media using the hashtag #calvertlakesbounceback