Inspira – “That taste of trying something new”

Friday 19th – Monday 22nd October 2018

Inspira are based in Cumbria and manage National Citizens Service (NCS) in Cumbria and Lancashire. NCS is one of the contracts Inspira delivers, and it is intended to give young people an amazing experience, helping them to develop skills for life and work.

They have been many times to the Lake District Calvert Trust (LDCT) however this is Abby’s, the group leaders, first time here! We had a group of 12 of 16-19 year olds with different ranges of special educational needs for a 3-night, weekend break.

Asked why they continue to choose the LDCT Abby says “We keep coming back for a reason. The programme that you run is good for the students, the activities, the location and how accessible the Centre is. They all get to try things that they usually wouldn’t get to try. It gives them that feeling that actually they are the same as everyone else.”

Their aims of the visit are the same as NCS – to encourage social mixing, to challenge and push themselves and to give the students more independence. Abby explained that some have never been away from home before so was a really valuable experience; one young student, who hadn’t been away from home before, has had an “absolutely fantastic time!”

A walk up Dodd wood, rock climbing in the on-site hall, a mine visit, swimming and and the high ropes course has meant an activity-packed weekend for the group. All took part in the majority of the activities, with different challenges for different people. “Some of the girls couldn’t get very high on the climbing wall but loved swinging through the trees on the ropes course” said Abby.


She continued, “They have all had that taste of trying something new, doing something that is out of their norm. The activities have allowed them to try to understand each other needs, and that’s been great.”

Abby explained the positive effects the weekend has had on the students. A young student with very little communication skills actually sang a little song, showing how settled she is here. Abby continued, “Another highlight was a student with Downs Syndrome who was so chuffed that he completed the high ropes course – he shouted “I did it!” – I replied “I know!””

Abby commented how good the staff are, who “have met the needs of the young people.” She noted that the “kitchen staff have been excellent”, preparing specific foods for certain students, but knowing not to give the third plate of food to another!

Abby concludes by saying how worthwhile the weekend has been, and would recommend anyone to come and experience what we do here at the LDCT. “Everything that has been needed has been there.”

We look forward to seeing Inspira again in the near future, so that we can again provide everything needed to enable a rewarding time for the group.


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