Mount Cook Adventure Centre in Middleton welcomes former street homeless man on first ever holiday

A Derbyshire Dales outdoor activity centre hosted a very special guest recently, as a former homeless man in his 50s enjoyed the first holiday of his life.

By Ed Dingwall
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:43 pm

Derby resident Wayne Rodgers, 54, was among a group of eight people who enjoyed a one-night stay at Mount Cook Adventure Centre, near Middleton, thanks to support from housing trust Derventio and the charity Outdoors for All.

He said: “I have three sisters and two brothers and my dad never worked, so we couldn’t afford holidays.

“The impact of this on me was amazing, and I mean amazing. It was absolutely fantastic.”

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First time holidaymaker Wayne Rodgers.

Wayne has been benefiting from the Deventio’s services for about 12 years, having first come into contact with the organisation when he was living on the streets.

Today he credits it with helping him to get back on track and find the positives in life again.

A former scrap metal merchant, he had turned to drink after losing his father and his job in quick succession and the consequences spiralled out of control from there.

He was invited to go on the Mount Cook trip as a regular participant in Derventio’s Growing Lives project.

Based in Cotmanhay, the scheme helps people who are either living in the trust’s housing, or have been referred through alcohol and drug recovery schemes, to gain confidence and valuable life skills by taking part in activities such as craft, gardening and furniture making.

So far, members of the group have been able to take two trips to Mount Cook thanks to funding grants from Outdoors for All, which enables people to access leisure opportunities in the fresh air.

During Wayne’s visit, the group competed against each other in a series of outdoor team games.

He said: “Sharing it with the guys at Growing Lives was like adopting a new family. There are not enough words. I enjoyed it that much I had to phone up and thank the organisers that night with tears of joy.”

Derventio spokesperson Sarah Ellis said: “Mount Cook provides an inclusive space where people can take part in physical activities that promote teamwork and problem solving, and no-one feels left out. Everyone who attends, including the tutors, always gives positive feedback about how much they enjoy it.”