Calvert Trust has Plans for Kielder

The Calvert Trust Kielder, a UK charity which encourages disabled people to enjoy outdoor adventures, is seeking funding for an ambitious redevelopment for its 40 acre woodland facility in the spectacular Kielder Water & Forest Park.

We are currently undertaking the overall master plan and outline designs for Phase I of the £5m scheme which is aimed at promoting inclusion between disabled and able bodied visitors to the site with remodelling of the existing activity centre to include a new visitor centre, an additional five lodges, additional car parking, extensive landscaping and the integration of art into the design process.

Kevin Appleby, Director of Operations at the award winning centre, explained, “One of the key themes to the expansion programme is inclusion – we know from our existing guests that mixing disabled guests with able bodied visitors works to the advantage of both by removing prejudices and fear – many of our current guests come as family groups in which one or more may have certain disabilities whilst the remainder are able bodied. We’ve seen school groups and respite guest wary of each other at first but interacting fantastically by the end of a week’s stay – once people understand each other, they get on!”
“We’re also committed to reducing the Centre’s carbon footprint so part of the brief to the architects is for environmentally friendly structures, indeed this is one of the reasons we chose JDDK whose reputation for sustainable architecture and experience in designing for special needs put them ahead of others. The increase in activities and bad weather provision will enable more people, not just those staying on site, to enjoy the activities and attractions with the help of the experienced Calvert Trust trainers.”

Working in close conjunction with the Kielder Partnership, who see the facility as an important part of their ‘Big Picture’ vision to become a world class destination, the scheme will also involve landscaping by Glen Kemp and the involvement of artists Heather and Ivan Morison, who have been working with the design team from the inception of the project.

Alison Thornton-Sykes, Principal Designer at JDDK, commented, “It’s a very exciting project in which the three disciplines of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Art will interact to produce a stunning environment for the Trust’s guests and we see this as hopefully just the start of a long relationship which will fulfill the Partnership’s vision of creating a superb facility.”
“Our initial ideas are exploring the connections between inside and outside with the building linking to a high level ropes course within the forest and possibly an external climbing wall as part of the building, creating a sculptural form. The topography within the site is very varied rising from the Cranecleugh Burn up to steep hills which gives us a varied and challenging environment to work within. Each of the new lodges will be different with some catering for smaller groups whilst the visitor centre will incorporate facilities for both able bodied and disabled visitors.”

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