How the MCF is supporting all-inclusive adventures

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

With support from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), the Bendrigg Trust is able to help people with complex disabilities, like Jason, enjoy outdoor activities with the rest of their family

Poppy, who’s now four, is all about getting muddy, while Lilly, who is six, is more into dancing,’ says Liz with a smile. ‘We’re an outdoor family and love doing lots of activities,’ she explains. ‘I’m not one to lie in bed all day,’ adds Jason, Liz’s husband. 

Behind Jason and Liz, framed by large glass windows, are the idyllic grounds of the Bendrigg Trust, situated within calm Cumbrian countryside. Jason and Liz are on a family holiday here – at this specialist outdoors centre for people with disabilities and disadvantages – with their daughters, Lilly and Poppy. 

SIDE BY SIDE

Looking at the couple sitting side by side on the sofa, it’s not immediately apparent that Jason is disabled. Yet motor neurone disease has left him almost fully paralysed, and it is now slowly taking away his speech. Looking closer you might spot his motorised wheelchair, or the ceiling hoist that moved him onto the sofa.

Jason’s diagnosis was devastating for the family, and the Masonic Charitable Foundation has supported them since he was diagnosed. ‘The daily living grants take pressure off us financially and mean the girls can enjoy normal childhood activities, like horse riding and swimming,’ says Liz.

The MCF has also supported the Bendrigg Trust, and worked in partnership with it to organise a weekend of activities for the family, who were among the first to stay in the new, fully accessible accommodation block, Acorn House. A £40,000 grant from the MCF funded ceiling-hoist equipment in the block – equipment that is vital for many of the Trust’s services and activities. 

‘We are very limited with the sort of places we can go and the type of holidays we can go on, because as Jason is so severely disabled, he requires a lot of equipment such as hoists, lifts, accessible vehicles and buildings,’ says Liz. ‘The Bendrigg Trust has everything we need – you don’t get many places as fully accessible as this.

‘Without the funding from the MCF we wouldn’t be able to provide the services we do,’ explains Nick Liley, Principal of the Bendrigg Trust. ‘Our activities are fully inclusive so we can work with people who have the most complex disabilities. We hear constantly about the benefits our activities have on people when they go back into their home environment – their confidence is often improved and they’re able to physically do more.’

Watch the MCF’s three-part mini documentary Making Memories, which follows the family on their adventures at the Bendrigg Trust and highlights just how much support from the masonic community has meant to them and the charity: www.mcf.org.uk/makingmemories

For more about the Bendrigg Trust, visit: www.bendrigg.org.uk

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