A crowdfunding appeal to help save the UK’s first dedicated Activity Centre for people with disabilities has been launched a by a 12-year-old with a profound brain injury.
From today, Oliver Voysey, who plays for Newcastle United’s frame football children’s team, will undertake a series of 13 challenges in the run up to his 13th birthday, to support the Lake District Calvert Trust’s Emergency Bounce Back Appeal.
His challenges will include walking on a treadmill for 13 minutes, standing independently for 13 seconds and completing a 13-minute walk.
In a normal year, Calvert Lakes in Keswick welcomes thousands of visitors to its accessible activity centre, many of whom have profound disabilities. With the charity now facing permanent closure due to the financial impact of Covid-19, the Trust has launched an Emergency Bounce Back Appeal.
Oliver is a regular visitor to the centre, having been to Calvert Lakes twelve times since 2017. His mother, Sarah, says her son – and the whole Voysey family – would be “devastated” if the centre was forced to close before he made his thirteenth trip.
Sarah said: “Oliver’s biggest birthday wish is for the Lake District Calvert Trust to survive. Forget cards or presents, he just wants to return to his favourite place in the world.
“Oliver suffered a brain injury when he was two days old. He survived but was left with catastrophic damage which caused sight loss, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and learning difficulties. He needs specialist care daily and lots of additional support.
“Throughout his life we have fought to show him that anything is possible, and that we will do all we can to help him rehabilitate. The Lake District Calvert Trust have helped us to do this.
“The Lake District Calvert Trust really do make disability just a word. They have given Oliver experiences we didn’t think were achievable. His confidence has soared doing canoeing, abseiling, rock climbing, cycling, ghyll scrambling, sailing, assault courses, horse riding and fell climbing. Nothing is impossible at Calvert.
“We would be absolutely devastated if the Lake District Calvert Trust was forced to close. We are appealing to the thousands of families who have visited Calvert over the years to join Oliver’s Calvert Army. Their support has never been more important. Every single penny counts.”
Jennifer Scott, fundraising manager at the Lake District Calvert Trust, said: “We have been absolutely blown away by the incredible response to our Emergency Bounce Back Appeal – but we still have a mountain to climb. The Covid-19 pandemic has left a huge, one-million-pound gap in our income.
“Oliver is an inspirational young man and we are so thankful to him and his family for their support. We are urging everyone to join Oliver’s Calvert Army through supporting Oliver or by taking on their own fundraising challenge.”
To support Oliver’s Calvert Army please click here.