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The Calvert Trust – Exmoor

August 9, 2021
So today is Harry’s 10 year Anniversary, but today feels different to the 9 other years we have experienced this day as we are on our way back from the most amazing weekend! Only a few weeks ago I was scrolling through Facebook when an alert came up from CPTeensuk asking for a family Interested in joining CPISRA for an all-inclusive weekend adventure break at Calvert trust, Exmoor . 
I read some information on Calvert trust, saw what activities they could offer and I jumped at the chance! This was exactly what I was hoping and looking for to celebrate the massive milestone of Charlie and George turning 10.  I quickly spoke to Dan and rang Mum to check if they could have Tom And Hettie, if we were lucky enough to get the chance to go! With all that in hand I responded to Ellie’s post and put our names forward. After the initial excitement I also then realised the break would be on Harry’s 10th anniversary. It felt like this was meant to be, something which was confirmed when were accepted on the camp! 
The night before we were set to leave I felt a little apprehensive as I haven’t ridden a bike in over 12 years, never been canoeing (owing to the fact i’m not a huge fan of water) and I’ve certainly never done any rock climbing! All of this added to lock down leaving me suffering  a little with social anxiety and also never really meeting with other CP parents in person. I was certainly out of my comfort zone!
Come Friday morning, we set off leaving Hettie and Tom behind something we have never done before, so a little nervous, but ultimately  ready for our next Team Maley challenge! Due to rubbish traffic we arrived two hours later than expected at 4:30 but excited and eager to see what activities we would be taking part in the forthcoming weekend!
On arrival we were warmly greeted by both Claire and Craig from CPISRA and the staff at Calvert trust. We were given a tour of the centre and then handed our key to the apartment. 
The apartment was clean, roomy with a brilliant sized wet room. It also included height adjustable beds and sink and plenty of large cupboards to store Charlie’s wheelchair and all of our luggage!
Tea  that evening was in the dinner hall which has large tables to encourage families to interact whilst you eat. It was then time to meet in “The Barn” for a briefing to find out our activities and groups! We were put into a lovely group of people and found out we would be doing biking and archery on Saturday and canoeing, abseiling and zip lining Sunday!
Saturday morning we woke up to a little rain, had breakfast at 8.30am in the food hall and set off to meet our instructor for the weekend of adventures! First up was biking and so we set off to the bike storage in the rain excited to see which bikes they had to offer.

I had a look around the multitude of bikes on offer and decided that a side by side tandem, with a bucket seat up front for Charlie would be perfect, leaving Dan on a “KMX”!  As we set off the heavens opened, and I have honestly never been in rain like it, but  we set off all with smiles and it really didn’t dampen our spirits! We had a fantastic ride around the reservoir taking in the beautiful sites even meeting some ducks and deer on route!

After the horrendous downfall we had, Charlie’s electric chair shorted out and we couldn’t use it, It just wouldn’t switch on! We were thinking that Dan would have to go back home and collect his manual chair (a lovely 10 hour round trip!) or try and source a hire centre locally (unlikely!)
I decided to first speak to Craig and Claire from CPISPRA on the off chance they may be able to help, and within 10 minutes a member of Calvert Trust were knocking on our door with a manual chair to borrow! Panic over! We had an alternative chair, not a perfect fit but we would make it work!

It was then time to strip off, get into some dry clothes, grab lunch and get ready for archery in the afternoon! Archery again was brilliant and they had an adapted trigger bow for those who found using a standard bow difficult. We played lots of different games including archery snakes and ladders and everyone again had an amazing time!

That night, I ended up chatting to Claire from CPISPA until late and my word, what an inspiring person she is. Claire has represented our country and also trained Team GB. She has a pure passion for getting CP children into sport and achieving things they may feel is out of their depth. I  felt like I had know Claire for years and she really understood my concerns and my desire to help Charlie and George immerse themselves into the CP community. The result of this conversation is that Charlie will be training with Claire in the near future in race running and club throwing, and Claire will be also speaking to a colleague of hers to get George in to athletics! How Exciting!
Sunday morning we had breakfast with Charlie and George’s new friend Alex, his parent’s and twin little brothers! What a lovely family they are and true little friendship that has blossomed from this weekend!
A little tired from the biking the day before but very excited for our next adventure we eagerly made our way down to the lake for the canoeing. Tom, our instructor had a variety of seating options for Charlie and we opted for a big bean bag to give back support whilst still remaining comfortable.  We had also borrowed an “active hands” from Claire to try. Wow what a brilliant product, this will definitely be the next purchase for us. This product straps to your arm and also to the piece of equipment you are wanting to use,  in this case the oar. This really helped Charlie to have control of the oar and enabled him to actively take part in the rowing.
Whilst on the reservoir we raced, played games and all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves . Who knew I would like being that close to the water!
Then it was dinner time and then back off out to get harnessed up for zip lining and abseiling! Again there were a variety of harnesses to fit all and different options of how Charlie could choose to abseil. We had the choice of abseiling  with a parent or abseiling with a parent and a specialised chair. Charlie chose to go down with Dad (much to my relief haha!) Charlie was super confident and guided his way down the cliff with ease! Tom our instructor was very confident and very encouraging, as were all the children and parents cheering each other on and making it a super supportive environment all round!
George was nervous and apprehensive to do it on his own but I felt this was a fantastic opportunity to really push George out of his comfort zone and let him abseil the wall by himself! He was a little nervous had a couple of wobbles but Tom offered some words of support and guidance and he smashed it!  George was so proud of himself, as were we that he’s achieved something he thought he couldn’t do!
I’m actually quite emotional thinking of the fantastic time we have had at Calvert Trust and the lovely people we have met. 
The weekend really couldn’t have gone any better.
So I want to say a massive Thank you to Ellie from CPTeens UK , Craig and Claire from CPISRA and Instructor Tom from Calvert Trust for an absolutely amazing Maley Adventure!
We can’t wait to see you all again next year! 
Jo x


We are the Maley Family, a family of 6 from Greater Manchester. We are Dad: Dan, Mum: Jo, our three sons: Charlie, George and Tom, and our daughter: Hettie. Our eldest boys Charlie and George both have Cerebral Palsy, with Charlie being diagnosed at 2 years old and George not until he was 9. In this blog we want to give an honest and realistic perspective on life and experiences. We hope that in return this might help other families in a similar position to us.