An excellent example of a truly inclusive approach to field-based activities is the Kepplewray Centre. The Kepplewray Centre is a renovated Victorian mansion with a new extension built in 1997, and established by the Kepplewray Trust to provide activity-based education to mixed ability groups. The Centre is situated in the south of the Lake District National Park. The Trust began in the early 1990s, and is committed to making sure that people of all abilities have the opportunity to be included on activities and educational visits alongside their friends and colleagues. At its heart is the belief that all individuals are specially created and of equal infinite value, and hence should have the same opportunities to be included in the challenges and activities of life. At the Centre, both disabled and abled students are catered for, ranging from primary school children to business management courses and from weekends to longer courses. Although Kepplewray is a Christian-based project, it welcomes everyone, whatever their faith or background.
The keynote of the Centre is inclusion. Its facilities have been planned with inclusion in mind throughout. The building is wheelchair accessible, with level access from the car park, and internal ramps where necessary. A lift with audible announcements, Braille and tactile numbers, connects to the first floor. Stairs have handrails and colour contrasting edges. The Centre is decorated in colours and tones to aid those with visual impairment. Furnishings and facilities have been designed to cater as far as possible for a wide range of physical impairments, with, for example, beds allowing hoist-leg access, and beds being provided at a correct height to ease bed-to-wheelchair transfer, and a mattress elevator for guests who have difficulty in moving from lying to sitting posture. There are level-access and step-in showers, shower chairs, a bath with hoist, and a wide range of accessible toilets with either side transfer.
But even more important than the physical provision of facilities is the ethos of inclusion which underpins all of the Centre's work. Whatever the nature of the impairment, staff work to ensure that this does not become a disability which leads to exclusion from any part of the experience. The staff has a wealth of experience and training in enabling access, and includes an occupational therapist, and access to nursing and medical staff.
Contact details are:
Tel: +44 (0)1229 716936
Fax: +44 (0)1229 716938
Page updated 14 December 2001
GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock
© Geography Discipline Network/authors, 2001
ISBN: 1 86174 114 6