1.5m plans will transform Bendrigg Trust Centre

A residential activity centre near Kendal is to undergo a £1.5m improvement programme to help it enhance provision for disabled and disadvantaged

Harrison Pitt Architects has developed plans on behalf of the Bendrigg Trust for a project to create new facilities at the popular Bendrigg Lodge, Old Hutton.

It will see the creation of a new fully wheelchair-accessible residential unit, named Acorn House, to replace an outdated facility at the site.

There are also plans to extend the existing resource centre and create a new outdoor activities space featuring a fully wheelchair-accessible activities tower complete with a tree house, tree-top walkway, climbing wall and zip wire.

The walkway structure will link the activities space with the residential areas of the site, removing the need for wheelchair users and carers to navigate the steep undulating ground. This will also free up space to create additional car parking areas, improved access and better landscaping at the entrance to the site.

Bendrigg Trust is now embarking on a major fundraising drive to secure the money needed to make the project a reality.

Trevor Clarke, principal of the Bendrigg Trust, said: “The centre has a long history of providing memorable outdoor experiences for a variety of users. Over the last few years, the majority of our funding is for provision for disabled and disadvantaged groups and some of our existing accommodation is no longer fit for purpose.

“These new designs will transform the space. The proposed Acorn House residential centre will give us the specialist accommodation we need and the project as a whole allows us to significantly improve the activities on offer.”

Zoe Hooton, architect at Lancaster-based Harrison Pitt Architects, said: “We have been working with the Bendrigg Trust on this project for the last two years. Our approach has been to find a solution that allows all of the space available to be used more effectively and to provide facilities that offer a better and more enriching experience for users. We will be working closely with Trevor and his team to assist in fundraising efforts to bring this project to fruition.”

Harrison Pitt Architects has completed a number of previous projects for the Bendrigg Trust, including its Kinross Building, which provides a range of indoor experiences and boasts one of the finest indoor climbing and abseiling facilities for disabled people in the UK.

There have been a wide variety of user groups going to Bendrigg since 1978. Current users are mainly groups of young people with a disability from schools, colleges and disability organisations. In addition the centre sees people with, or recovering from, mental illness and young people excluded from mainstream schooling.

The ‘Bendrigg Alternative’ scheme is an important project enabling offenders to visit Bendrigg on a one-week placement to work alongside our staff and assist our groups.

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