Oliver Voysey is 12 years old and lives with a brain injury and he has launched Oliver’s Calvert Army – a crowdfunding appeal to help save the UK’s first dedicated activity centre for people with disabilities.
In the run up to his thirteenth birthday party on 30 January 2021, Oliver, who plays for Newcastle United’s frame football children’s team, is undertaking a series of 13 challenges to support the Lake District Calvert Trust’s Emergency Bounce Back Appeal.
Oliver’s challenges include walking on a treadmill for 13 minutes, standing independently for 13 seconds and completing a 13-minute walk. His family will be supporting him all the way with their own set of challenges.
In a normal year, Calvert Lakes in Keswick welcomes thousands of visitors to its accessible activity centre, many of whom have profound disabilities. With the charity now facing permanent closure due to the financial impact of COVID-19, the Trust has launched an Emergency Bounce Back Appeal.
Oliver is a regular visitor to the centre, having been to Calvert Lakes twelve times since 2017. His mother, Sarah, says her son – and the whole Voysey family – would be “devastated” if the centre was forced to close before he made his thirteenth trip.
Sarah explained: “Oliver’s biggest birthday wish is for the Lake District Calvert Trust to survive. Forget cards or presents, he just wants to return to his favourite place in the world.
“Oliver suffered a brain injury when he was two days old. He survived but was left with catastrophic damage which caused sight loss, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and learning difficulties. He needs specialist care daily and lots of additional support.
“Throughout his life we have fought to show him that anything is possible, and that we will do all we can to help him rehabilitate. The Lake District Calvert Trust have helped us to do this.
“The Lake District Calvert Trust really do make disability just a word. They have given Oliver experiences we didn’t think were achievable. His confidence has soared doing canoeing, abseiling, rock climbing, cycling, ghyll scrambling, sailing, assault courses, horse riding and fell climbing. Nothing is impossible at Calvert.
“The psychological impact this has had has been amazing. We’ve seen Oliver go from strength to strength and he lives by the motto ‘never say I can’t’.
“We would be absolutely devastated if the Lake District Calvert Trust was forced to close. We are appealing to the thousands of families who have visited Calvert over the years to join Oliver’s Calvert Army. Their support has never been more important. Every single penny counts.”
Jennifer Scott, fundraising manager at the Lake District Calvert Trust commented: “We have been absolutely blown away by the incredible response to our Emergency Bounce Back Appeal – but we still have a mountain to climb. The COVID-19 pandemic has left a huge, one-million-pound gap in our income.
“Oliver is an inspirational young man and we are so thankful to him and his family for their support. We are urging everyone to join Oliver’s Calvert Army through supporting Oliver or by taking on their own fundraising challenge.”
To support Oliver’s Calvert Army please visit: gofundme.com/olivers-calvert-army
To learn more about Oliver and his family please visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq16VjGz5JI
Oliver started his challenges on Monday 18 January 2021.
About Lake District Calvert Trust
The Lake District Calvert Trust has been supporting people with disabilities from its specialist Calvert Lakes residential centre and accessible riding centre near Keswick in the Lake District for almost forty-five years. Participants enjoy the benefits of its unique programmes and facilities in a safe and accessible, yet challenging environment.
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