Calvert Trust in the Lake District was the destination for 14 service families who went on the first of 2022’s Short Breaks – organised by SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. 

SSAFA’s Short Breaks are open to serving families with a child who has additional needs or a disability, and are an opportunity for people to enjoy trying fun activities – no matter what the disability – spending quality time together, and meeting others in similar situations.

Some 22 children with additional needs or a disability, along with 11 of their siblings and parents, enjoyed the weekend break taking part in a range of activities including canoeing, bushcraft, and high ropes.

Frances Robinson, SSAFA’s Service Manager for Additional Needs and Disability, commented that the young people and their families said it was “… so encouraging to see children – disability or not – taking part in the same activities as each other, as often there isn’t the opportunity…”, adding:

And that’s the beauty of Calvert Trust, which also has another site on Exmoor, because it is wholly geared up, for 40 years, to offer people with disabilities the same opportunities as others. As Calvert Trust says, ‘It’s what you can do that counts’.”

Feedback from families included:

The children have discovered that they have a similar interest in the activities and have made memories together that they can look back on with pride, a sense of achievement and reflection.”

Another family added:

We did things we didn’t think were manageable! Thanks to the brilliant team, our daughter was able to try everything and even managed to push herself out of her comfort zone, I’m so grateful. The little things she achieved this weekend were a huge deal to her and us.”

One of the youngsters taking part said: “I liked how understanding everyone was with me and my sister. The swimming pool was great, I haven’t been able to swim in over three years due to anxiety.

SSAFA’s Short Breaks are free to families, but donations to maintain this life-enhancing service can be made. For more information, visit ssafa.org.uk/shortbreaks