Sandfield Park School and the “Calvert Bubble”

Monday 24th Sept – Friday 28th Sept 2018, 12 visitors

The Calvert Trust had the pleasure in welcoming 12 visitors from Sandfield Park Secondary School from Liverpool. The group of 11-19 year olds, with disabilities ranging from physical, medical, learning and emotional disabilities had an activity-filled week.

We caught up with Sue Barry, one of the group organisers who gave the Calvert Trust glowing feedback. Sue has visited the Calvert Trust herself for about 20 years, and says she always looks forward to the visit as it is such a “brilliant centre” and is “so wonderful”.

She uses the Lake District Calvert Trust because she says, “primarily the centre is so good” and she explained how she has complete confidence in the Centre and the staff, who she has got to know over the years. “The staff are so professional; they really go out of their way to enable every child. No matter what their disability to participate and that’s wonderful. They inspire the children with so much confidence!”

Sue explained that some of the pupils do come feeling a little nervous of the activities but most of them do have a go at every activity. ”They may be a little nervous but the sense of achievement when they have overcome that fear is just fantastic to see.” She believes in “the power of the outdoors, the power of doing things for yourself and that sense of achievement you get from it.”


The activities included a night walk on the evening of their arrival, (which for city dwellers was exciting to be out in the dark!); they had a day on the catamaran, canoeing, rock and rope, bush craft activities (including cooking marshmallows which went down very well!).

Sue narrated that the most challenging activity was the rock and rope, and ultimately the sense of what the group achieved doing this. One pupil in a wheelchair with very low self-esteem and low confidence was absolutely delighted with herself during the rock and rope activities. She has subsequently opened up and has since discussed a lot of things with the staff. Sue commented that the pupils return as stronger people.

She explained that the bursary funding has been invaluable as this has helped pupils from less well-off families to benefit from a visit here; Sandfield School pays for half the cost but the other 50% is paid for by the parents so is really beneficial to these pupils.

Two new members of staff from Sandfield, who have never been to the Lake District have been blown away by the beauty and location of the Centre. The centre staff in particular have had their praises sung in the highest regards – she re-iterates that they are so positive. She wishes the whole of her school could come including all the staff!

Sue concluded with a very moving statement: “For me, this is just the ideal of how the world should be for people with disability; the staff and their ethos just embodies that! We call it the ‘Calvert Bubble’ when we get back to school.”

She explained that “The Calvert Bubble” lasts throughout the whole of the pupils time at Sandfield and the memories created at the Calvert Trust have clearly had a positive and long-lasting effect of those who have visited. The Calvert is often mentioned in the 6th form school leavers talk, even if the pupils were here when they were eleven years old!

When asked is there any advice for people looking to book a course here at the Calvert Trust her response was “Don’t hesitate – just book it. You won’t regret it!”

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