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£1 million raised for ‘first of it’s kind’ Lake District brain injury centre

Sean Day, Centre Director LDCT and Ricky Fee, Operations Director Stobbarts at Old Windebrowe – the Calvert Reconnections Acquired Brain Injury Rehab Centre

Today, Thursday 2 May, The Lake District Calvert Trust has revealed that it has now passed the million-pound mark in its fundraising efforts to create a unique and ground-breaking rehabilitation centre for people with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) – ‘Calvert Reconnections’.

The centre, which will open in late 2019, will be the UK’s first intensive ABI rehab centre, underpinned by combining traditional multi-disciplinary clinical therapies with physical activity in the outdoors.

Every year in the UK, over 300,000 people suffer life-changing brain injuries. They face a long and difficult road to recovery, often with limited support.  The Lake District Calvert Trust (LDCT) has challenged disability through outdoor adventure for over 40 years.

Working with leading clinicians and academics, the new rehab centre will provide a ground-breaking, world-class rehabilitation programme tailored to support individuals in their recovery.

Interior – Old Windebrowe currently under redevelopment to become the Calvert Reconnections Acquired Brain Injury Rehab Centre

In recent years, LDCT has seen a growing demand for support and rehabilitation following an ABI. Long standing views held that improvements were unlikely after six months, however recent research suggests that the brain is capable of far more improvement than previously understood. The research highlights the opportunity for a new holistic approach to rehabilitation, encompassing physical exercise, experiential learning, and support in developing a new self-concept after a life-changing injury.

Working with leading clinicians and academics including Professor Mike Barnes, Heather Batey, Director of Reach and leading ABI QC Bill Braithwaite, LDCT is developing a new approach to brain injury rehabilitation. The focus is on ‘learning through doing’ in the outdoors, supported by a multi-disciplinary team in a purpose-built residential centre. It will marry the latest thinking in neurology with LDCT’s expertise in accessible, life-changing outdoor challenges. This innovative Rehabilitation Centre will help people with ABI reach their full potential for recovery, not only improving their physical and psychological well-being, but also increasing their self-confidence and independence.

Fundraising began back in 2016 with the hugely popular ‘Go Herdwick’ sheep sculpture trail that delighted tens of thousands of locals and visitors over that Summer. The resulting charity auction kick-started the fundraising process to the tune of £225,000!  Additional funding has since been secured from 17 trusts and foundations nationwide as well as individual donations from generous members of the public.

LDCT Director Sean Day commented: “We are absolutely delighted to have reached the million-pound mark so quickly. It is so important to so many individuals and families that we get this centre up and running so we can really start to make a difference to people’s lives. Though the general public may not be overly familiar with the term ‘ABI’, most of us will know someone somewhere who has suffered a traumatic brain injury and the effects really can be life-changing, not just for that person but for their family and friends too. We’re extremely grateful to all our funders to date who’ve helped get this project off the ground and we’re looking forward to welcoming our first participants in the not too distant future.”

Work has already begun on transforming the Grade II listed Tithe Barn, ‘Old Windebrowe’ on the outskirts of the pretty market town of Keswick, into the rehabilitation centre which will house up to 15 participants at any one time.  It is hoped that Calvert Reconnections will be opening its doors later this year and the enquiries are already coming in! To find out more visit www.calvertreconnections.org.uk or call 017687 72255.

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