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Barry's story - my trip to Calvert Kielder

Post Date: 13 July 2023

Recipients can keep up to one week of their normal ILF Scotland award as a contingency fund, but must return any excess funding ‘unspent monies’ to us.

However, a recipient, may, on an exceptional basis, ask us if they can use some of their unspent monies in a different way to achieve their independent living outcomes. We call this a “Flexible Funding” request. You can find out more about this here Policy 41 Use of ILF Scotland Funding

One of our recipients, Barry, submitted a formal request to ask us if he could use a small proportion of the unspent monies he returned to us to pay for support to allow him to attend Calvert Trust Keilder Activities and we approved this. This is Barry's story.

About Barry

My name is Barry Smith, and I am 44 years old. I have Cerebral Palsy, which is a physical disability. Due to this condition I am in a power chair and using a SL50 Lightwriter which is a speaking output Communication Aide. I live by myself.

You might be asking yourself why I would want to go to Calvert Kielder. It is a big holiday place for disabled people and their family. Any disabled people over the age of 18 years, can go because they get respite support from a team who look after all their support like feeding and all personal needs.

Travelling to Calvert Kielder

Soon it was time to head off on my adventure. Me and my Personal Assistant (PA) got a cab from my house to the train station where all the train ramps were booked to take me down to Newcastle via Glasgow, then a wheel around to Queen Street, then to Edinburgh and finally to Newcastle. The booked ramps let me get on and off each train at the right stops with my power wheelchair and perfectly in time for the next train. My plan went so well!

Arriving in Newcastle, I met a man off the train - a driver who worked in Kielder who was waiting for me to take there on the Kielder Bus. After an hour and 15 minutes drive I was there! I felt I was home straight away.

Settling in

One of the first support staff I met I hadn’t seen in over a year. He didn’t think I would remember him – but I did! He took me to my bedroom and unpacked my bags for me. I then went for a little by myself although they checked that I would be back within the hour.

When I returned, I got support to have my dinner and everybody got help to pick what they wanted to eat for the next day. Then we got asked if we would like to go to the inside wall the next morning.

I remember feeling so happy about this because this was one of the best things I loved doing at Kielder as it’s the only place I’ve ever been able do it.

Getting into the activities

At night I got to know everybody over a few drinks. The next day after breakfast we went down to the inside wall. The first wall I tried was hard, but I gave it a good old try and I made it after a while. The second wall I tried, there was a bell at the top. I rang that bell and it felt so good. Then I went back for something to eat.

Then we got asked if we would like to go canoeing in the afternoon. The staff gave me a pull wheelchair, because I was going down to the lock. We had to take a short, 10-minute bus trip but it was worth it.

When we got off the bus at the lock, everyone got given their lifejackets and an oar. I remember one of the support workers saying I always put the oar on my foot so I could roll the boat by myself but it was to help the boat too!

Being out on the water really helped give head space from my life but I was feeling over the moon because of all the things I was getting to do. I loved it.

While at Kielder, I got to do water sports, inside walls and lots more mad things that disabled people would never think they would ever be able to do. I did them and it was amazing!

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