In early September, the team at Amphigean had a volunteering day at the Bendrigg Trust, a short distance east of Oxenholme.
The Bendrigg Trust is an activity centre specialising in high-quality adventure trips for disabled and disadvantaged people, of any age or ability. Having celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, the Trust has supported over 79,000 people from across the UK.
As a charity, it relies heavily on donations and grants, receiving no funding from the government. More than 150 people volunteer at Bendrigg each year, on a day-by-day or residential basis, and without their help the centre would not be able to function.
We arrived at Bendrigg with the stoic acceptance that the weather was not going to be kind to us, and sure enough it rained all day. However, this was never going to dampen our spirits and after a friendly introduction from Volunteer Co-ordinator Kate McCallum, along with volunteer Fran Biggin, we were ready to get to work.
We divided ourselves into groups to carry out the various tasks around the site that needed completing. De-mossing the paths required hoes and claw cultivators, but was actually made easier by the rain. Others took to pruning hedges and bushes, or weeding flower beds.
Despite the adverse conditions we all made good progress in the morning and were rewarded with a refreshing brew, ample supplies of toast, and a chat with the volunteers. We then continued this work around the grounds, alternating our roles as required. When our wheelbarrows became full they would be taken down the hill and emptied onto an increasingly formidable compost pile.
At lunch we were treated to a hearty soup, a range of sandwiches, and even homemade cakes. This certainly brightened our spirits, along with the knowledge that we had already made real progress and the centre was looking much improved.
In the afternoon we took on some new tasks, including cataloguing all the signs that had been made in preparation for the Bendrigg Inclusive Activity Festival on 28 September. The centre’s cave and sensory room were also deep-cleaned, the climbing wall area hoovered, and the corridors mopped.
Overall, we enjoyed the day immensely, and were hugely impressed with the quality of the facilities available and the dedication of all the staff and volunteers involved. They were very appreciative of our efforts and we hope to return in the future.
“This is our second year of supporting Bendrigg Trust and this time couldn’t have been more different than the sweltering heat of last year. But as usual, the team got stuck in and we achieved a huge amount on the day. We also got a complete tour of the facilities by Kate and this reinforced why we offer our time as a business to such a worthwhile organisation. They really do make a difference to everyone who uses the facilities”Managing Director, Pete Simpson