Management Team

Claire Appleton

Head Of Service

Claire has 23 years’ experience working in the NHS; in 2006 Claire qualified as an occupational therapist.

Claire’s passion has always been to work in a community setting and has had varied community roles including acquired brain injury, long-term neuro conditions, neurological splinting, and stroke rehab. Working in the community always provides challenges as an occupational therapist, presenting highly complex caseloads and conditions.

Other career highlights involved leading the community stroke team, assisting to set up/ develop a new service in the acute A+E department to reduce hospital admissions and setting up a pilot working in collaboration with North West Ambulance Service to prevent A+E admissions.

5 years ago, Claire moved into a management post in the NHS, leading the Eden Community Rehab Team, developing strategic specialist leadership and management skills, and gained valuable experience delivering high quality health services.

Claire has always appreciated where she lives, enjoying the outdoor lifestyle.

Claire lives in Penrith with her family. She enjoys playing and watching many sports and watching the boys play football at weekends. In her spare time between work and football commitments Claire enjoys spending family time in the Lakes, fell walking, kayaking and paddle boarding.

Emma Smith


Calvert Reconnections has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Emma Smith as Manager.

Previously Operations Manager for an established provider of support to adults with learning disabilities in Cumbria, Emma has extensive experience in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated environment.

As Calvert Reconnections’ Manager, Emma’s wide-ranging role includes ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, developing policy, producing care and support plans in collaboration with the clinical team and ensuring client care and support is of the highest standard.

Commenting on her decision to join Calvert Reconnections, Emma said:

“I am hugely excited to take on this role.

“Calvert Reconnections is transforming the way in which brain injury rehabilitation is delivered, delivering tangible results and real pathways back into everyday life. It is a truly ground-breaking service.”

Welcoming Emma to Calvert Reconnections, Head of Service, Clare Appleton said:

“We are delighted to welcome Emma to Calvert Reconnections. Her passion, skills and experience ideally complement our senior management team.”

Calvert Reconnections is the UK’s first intensive acquired brain injury rehabilitation centre combining traditional clinical therapies with a focus on outdoor activities.

Femke van Schelven

Neurological Physiotherapist

After qualifying as a physiotherapist in 2004, Femke worked in Sheffield, gaining a varied experience for four years. She then moved to Cumbria and has now gained 12 years’ experience as a specialist neurological physiotherapist. Her work here has been across a community stroke team, stroke rehabilitation inpatients and neurological in and outpatients. She has provided specialised neurological assessment, treatment and management for a variety of complex conditions.

Femke has had the opportunity to undertake and deliver specialist training in a variety of postgraduate skills and qualifications. This includes Functional Electrical Stimulation, Saebo Neuro Rehabilitation and Constraint Induced Movement Therapy. During this time Femke has also managed, coordinated and developed neurological rehabilitation and stroke rehabilitation services. She is committed to driving a high-quality specialised service, through an up-to-date evidenced-based approach.

Femke’s passion for movement and activity extends into her personal life where she has a great love for cycling, fell walking, climbing, mountaineering and open water swimming. She has also been a full-time racing cyclist, competing internationally. Femke thoroughly enjoys sharing these passions with others and through her role as a neurological physiotherapist, and she has been able to use her skills and knowledge to support others in such activities.

Rob White

Activity Lead

Rob brings over 20 years’ worth of outdoor coaching experience to the team. He has always been a strong advocate for using outdoor activities to facilitate personal development, so this underpins his practice. During his time in the outdoor sector, Rob has spent twelve years at Calvert Lakes specialising in the adaptation and delivery of outdoor adventure with inclusivity at its heart.

In 2018, Rob qualified with an MSc in Psychology. He researched the influence of rock climbing on people’s mental well-being, and this highlighted the transformative potential of the outdoors. He uses his knowledge when designing and delivering programmes, focussing on maximising well-being by using adventurous activities and the outdoor environment. He bases this on psychological theory and hopes to coach and support others to promote this practise too.

Rob has assisted British Canoeing and the Mountain Training Association to develop their disability awareness and inclusive training provision. Canoe and kayak instructors have benefited from Rob’s authoring and delivery of the Inclusive Intermediate Paddleability module and further Train the Trainer courses. As Head Coach, Rob not only holds a broad range of mountain, canoe sport and sailing qualifications but will be overseeing much of the outdoor training for our team.

Leading canoe and kayak expeditions to Scotland and the French Alps for people with disabilities has been a real highlight for Rob. He loves to be able to share his knowledge and passion for paddling white water with others, though when not on the water, Rob’s other love is exploring the local fells with his dog.

Sean Day

LDCT Centre Director

Sean is the Centre Director at both Calvert Reconnections and the Lake District Calvert Trust, a Charity that supports people with disabilities to achieve their potential by providing challenging outdoor adventure. Since 2008 Sean has led this inspirational charity as it has continued to grow and develop against the backdrop of national austerity. Now supporting over 4,000 people a year with disabilities, together with their carers and friends, the Calvert Trust is the recognised leader in providing accessible adventure from its residential centre in the Lake District.

Having been involved in delivering outdoor education in a range of settings for over 25 years Sean is still involved in leading activities. In addition to strategic planning and management, during his time at the Calvert Trust he continues to be involved in the development of new activities and delivery of courses. Leading white water canoeing trips involving disabled service veterans and climbing multi-pitch routes in the Italian Dolomites with an MS sufferer have been particular highlights.

A father of three boys, Sean enjoys the privilege of living and working in the heart of the Lake District. In their spare time the family makes the most of the area, being keen climbers, walkers and mountain bikers.