A CONVERTED Peak District barn is offering a new lease of life to young people paralysed by spinal cord injury.
The new Room for All Seasons, created by the Lane End Farm Trust at Abney near Hathersage, offers specially adapted self-catering accommodation where young people and their family or carers can relax away from a medical environment.
The idea is that they should enjoy a break and work out their needs and priorities.
More than 100 supporters joined in the official opening last week – and they had double reason to celebrate when guest of honour Matt Hampson also agreed to become their new patron.
Matt, a former England under-21 rugby player, was paralysed in a scrum seven years ago and is a great supporter of the trust and its work.
He said: “I am honoured to become a patron of the Lane End Farm Trust. It is a wonderful charity that genuinely wants to make a difference to many disabled people’s lives.”
The trust plans to work closely with the Matt Hampson Foundation, which provides advice and support for anyone seriously injured during sporting activity.
The Lane End trust was set up five years ago by farm owner Vivienne Howson, who suffered spinal injuries in a car crash in her 20s. The small working hill farm has complete wheelchair access and visitors are encouraged to be involved with the rare breed animals and sheepdogs which live there.
The new Room for All Seasons has been created in a single-storey barn, designed with wheelchair-users in mind. Facilities include adjustable-height kitchen equipment, wet room, generous space, open-plan rooms and an en-suite bedroom for parents or carer.
“It‘s so that young people who have suffered spinal injuries can go to a friendly place where they can move about and connect with nature, connect with family and friends – to see the challenges that they are going to face,” says Vivienne. “We want to give young people that one short experience to get their heads together… and they can always come back.
“The opening was an opportunity to thank all those involved with this wonderful facility and to celebrate the beginning of a promising future.”