Waves Day Centre – braver than the staff!
Monday 8th – Friday 12th October 2018, 12 visitors
Waves Day Centre is a unique provision based in the heart of West Yorkshire that offers young people and adults – with a wide range of learning difficulties and disabilities – significant opportunities to improve the quality of their lives. I caught up with Ben Wright, the Managing Director of Waves, who had brought 8 of their students, plus 3 other staff members to enjoy the experience of what we do at the Calvert Trust.
“It works well for us [coming to the Lake District Calvert Trust] as it’s the parents that chose the holiday on the advice we give them. This can however be a challenge for us and your instructors, as the group make up can vary quite widely, with students typically having complex learning disabilities and/or different types of physical disabilities.” However, Ben and his students are not new to the LDCT; they try and visit twice a year and have done so for 4 years now. “It’s better suited for the way we like to do our residentials – we like to bring our own staff and it’s the smaller things like being able to do our own washing”. Ben continues to compliment the staff here, as always doing a brilliant job.
Activities included the high wire ropes course, a stable visit, a Lakeland walk, swimming in the on-site swimming pool and bushcraft. All enjoyed the high ropes, which Ben was impressed with as it could be tailored to the individual’s needs “The course can be made shorter or longer depending on the ability of the individual. Everyone got to do what was challenging to them.” Ben continued with an exceptionally poignant thought “The staff can rationalise the fact that they have got a rope attached to the safety line, but the guys that come with us don’t quite have the cognitive ability to put their trust in that rope so they actually think if they let go of something they are going to die. They are actually braver than the staff.” One of the individuals, new to the Centre and indeed adventure holidays impressed Ben as he did every activity, including the long high ropes course and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Ben confirms that the courses ran at the LDCT have a hugely positive impact on the group, “Many of the students still live at home so it is always good for them to be with their peers for an extended period of time. It is also good for our staff to get to know the individuals a bit more, which is what happens when you spend 24 hours with someone!”
Ben feels as though the Centre, gives enough ‘free-reign’ to the students who perhaps do not and have not had the freedoms from an early age at home. “We try not to watch them at every moment – we like them to let them get up to their own devices at times.”
Ben particularly comments about the great location of the LDCT, and likes the fact that despite many activities being ran away from the Centre in the National Park, that there are a lot of activities that can be ran on site, which he says is handy. He says too that mixing with the other groups is very beneficial, with his students sometimes making friends with pupils from other schools.
Useful advice from Ben was that, due to an action-packed week occasionally proving quite exhausting at times for the staff, it is worth putting a ‘softer’ day into the activity programme, “It just gives the staff chance to recover!”
Ben sums up his visit by describing his stay here as ‘challenging’ but ‘enjoyable’, and they did see some beautiful autumnal Lake District sunshine on Wednesday; the day that they had scheduled in the Lakeland walk, “The planets seemed to have aligned for us. It was a really awesome day.”
We will be welcoming back the Waves Day Centre soon in 2019, where we try and align those planets again for them.