A Lake District charity which has helped thousands of disabled people over the last 45 years is on the brink of closure due to COVID-19.
The Lake District Calvert Trust has furloughed the vast majority of its staff and closed its doors for the foreseeable future.
Last month, it launched an appeal to help save it.
The Emergency Bounce Back Appeal aims to save the much-loved charity, which has been left with a £1 million gap in its income.
Based on current projections, the trust’s own contingency funds will run out by March, 2021, and its survival now hangs in the balance.
People are rallying behind the appeal.
Rory Stewart, who was MP for Penrith and The Border from 2010 to 2019 and a former Conservative leadership challenger, said:
“Calvert Lakes is a truly special place.
“Having delivered life changing experiences for thousands of disabled children and adults over the years, COVID-19 restrictions have wiped out visitor numbers and income.
“I hope everyone will support Calvert so the charity can be here for many years to come.”
Julie Barton, High Sheriff of Cumbria, said: “I have huge admiration for the vital work of the Calvert Trust and great sympathy for the challenges the pandemic has created.
“It has certainly been a very difficult year for so many charitable organisations across Cumbria.
“It would be a tragedy if the Calvert Trust closed its doors after 45 years of welcoming people with disabilities and making outdoor activities accessible to them.
“The local community would be badly affected and it would negatively impact on so many lives.”
Support for the Lake District Calvert Trust has also come from the House of Lords.
Lord Inglewood, chairman of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Lake District Calvert Trust is a brilliant, inspiring charity.
“If it is forced to close its doors, regular visitors to the centre, many of whom have profound disabilities, will be denied the chance to share in life’s opportunities.”
The Lake District Calvert Trust has been supporting people with disabilities from its specialist Calvert Lakes residential centre and accessible riding centre near Keswick for almost forty-five years.
“Participants enjoy the benefits of its unique programmes and facilities in a safe and accessible, yet challenging environment.
Having delivered life changing programmes for thousands of disabled children and adults over the years, the trust is now fighting for its future, having been hit by a perfect storm of COVID-19 related restrictions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has left a huge, one-million-pound gap in our income,” said Giles Mounsey-Heysham, chairman of the trustees.
“To survive the winter and bounce back in the spring, we have to act now to seek external support.”