Badaguish promotes outdoor activity holidays in Speyside for people with a disability by providing accessible and affordable accommodation facilities and services.
The Badaguish Cairngorm Outdoor Centre comprises a holiday care lodge and specialised facilities which are registered with The Care Inspectorate to provide both day care and residential care for children and adults.
The lodge provides fun, sociable and safe short breaks for people living with learning disabilities or who have more complex care and support needs.
A holiday programme of outdoor activities is tailored to each guest or group’s specific needs, supported 24 hours a day by qualified and experienced staff, to provide an inclusive and secure environment for people to enjoy the surrounding attractions of the Cairngorms National Park.
All facilities and activities have been purpose designed with accessibility in mind. Lodges have ground floor sleeping accommodation with en suite shower and laundry facilities, with the option to book care beds and shower chairs. Outdoor access to the lodges is barrier free, while a purpose-built network of pathways provides optimum wheelchair access.
A range of self-catering lodges, wigwams and campsite accommodation are available to book, each with adapted facilities to provide an accessible base for a wide range of schools, community groups and families.
Badaguish also host a range of outdoor fundraising events all year round, including the Aviemore Half Marathon and the Corrieyairack Challenge, a mountain duathlon which traces the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie over Scotland’s highest mountain road.
Badaguish Centre enjoys a prime location in the Cairngorms National Park and is increasingly popular internationally, with a variety of visitors all the year round.
This enables charging at commercial rates (bookings for a 12-bed lodge start at £270 a night, for example) which creates a healthy surplus to subsidise the centre’s charitable activities.
Executive director Andrew Mackenzie describes how Badaguish’s ethos of inclusivity is at the heart of its business model: “We try to ensure that there is a range of accommodation options so that the cost to stay is affordable for all budgets.
“Outdoor camping and activity areas have been purpose designed with plenty of open space to give youth groups extra space for activities and team games without disturbing others.
“Camping is from £8 per night, wigwam cabins are from £12 per person depending on group discounts.”
Registration fees collected from outdoor fundraising events throughout the year bring in a valuable revenue stream This helps keep holiday care fees affordable to more families.
Events include the family-friendly Macdonald Mile Fun Run, with registration just £3, all the way through to the gruelling Corrieyairack Challenge, which brings in £68 for each participant to cover costs of running the event and create a healthy surplus for the centre’s activities.
Every £200 raised helps to provide a respite care activity holiday at Badaguish for adults and children with a disability.
“With well over 2000 participants each year and support from over 100 local volunteers these have enormous value in raising awareness and promoting the charity. They provide essential deficit funding for the Holiday Care Unit,” Andrew explains.
Andrew’s next challenge is to build further revenue streams to ensure Badaguish’s sustainability – there are currently plans afoot for a scheme to reward repeat customers.
“What we need to work on next is to market a membership scheme and make it easier for target customer groups to benefit from discounted rates.
“The Trust’s aim for many years has been to fund its charitable services on a sustainable basis from trading with no revenue grants. This has been a tough discipline, but it has been successfully achieved over the last five years.”
Over the last 30 years, Badaguish has created unique adventure holidays for many thousands of people living with disabilities.
Activities are designed to enable personal development for people of all abilities, promoting an active, healthy and sociable lifestyle by developing recreational skills which will continue to impact people’s lives after they have returned home.
“Badaguish is lucky to have an extraordinary effect on people – which is basically falling in love with the place. It does have a special quality of making people feel instantly at one with the environment, magnificent mountain surroundings and the tranquil forest location,” Andrew says.
“Badaguish special environment together with the nature of the Trust’s work also attracts a special kind of people to work here. Often with a huge commitment and enjoyment to be sharing their own joy in the outdoors with people who are less fortunate. It’s good to think of the contribution Badaguish has made over the years.”