We have eight weeks to raise £100,000 to put the roof on our new centre, so 180 disabled children can have access to horse riding weekly, in Effingham.
Please consider donating what ever you are able, purchasing a reward and getting your name added to our Thank You Wall, or undertaking a fundraiser on our behalf. Every penny really does count, and with your help we can get one step closer to getting the riders back in the saddle.
Who we are: Horsley, Bookham & Leatherhead Riding for the Disabled Association has delivered life-changing therapeutic riding sessions for children and young people with disabilities for over 40 years in Surrey.
What we do: We help people with Autism, Spina Bifida, Down’s Syndrome, ADHD and many other complex conditions, increase their confidence, wellbeing and physical health, all through regular contact with horses. It gives them a chance to make friends, access the countryside and simply have fun while gaining confidence learning a new skill.
"I can’t thank the trustees, committee, coordinators and volunteers enough for the opportunity that they have given to my son. No matter what the weather they are there with smiles on their faces willing to look after my son and guide him during his rides. Every week Lance gets to take part in an activity that he loves that otherwise he’d never be able to do. We are very honoured and grateful to be members of the RDA Family"A Mum.
Our RDA is entirely volunteer run. 140 people volunteered as coaches, group leaders and helpers last year, supporting people with disabilities to benefit from the experience of horse riding. In November 2020 we merged with Leatherhead RDA (a smaller organisation that was also housed at the same location as us) to become Horsley, Bookham and Leatherhead RDA. This decision was great for the volunteers and riders who will not be missing out on their local charity’s closure, and we believe we are stronger together.
Sadly, due to the impact of COVID-19 the business owners of the yard we have called home for 40 years made the decision in October 2020 to change its objectives and requested the charities both leave before Christmas.
Although we knew our long-term future was a risk, and we had started planning for this, it came as quite a shock to be left without anywhere to restart rides once the pandemic was under control. For a number of years, the charities had both been looking at options, and after undertaking a feasibility project, H&B sought planning permission to build a brand new, fully accessible centre of excellence at Badgers Farm, Effingham, just ten minutes away from the current venue.
What we want to build:
- A 30 x 60 metre all-weather indoor arena allowing sessions to be held all year round
- An hydraulic lift to aid riders in mounting and dismounting, making rides accessible for more people
- Two fully accessible toilets ensuring dignity and adequate facilities for all who attend
- An accessible classroom for teaching riders about horse care and training volunteers
- An accessible tack room and separate storage area for equipment
- 25-year Peppercorn Lease of the land (the building itself will be owned by H,B&L RDA)
An Artist's impression of the new centre.
We have raised enough funds to excavate, lay down the foundations and build the steel structure, but we still need to fund the roof!
We break ground on the 9th August, and hope to raise the funds in time for the structure to be up, so the roof can go straight on and we will have a home!
Our vision for our future:
The new centre gives the charity a safe and secure future for its riders and volunteers. Over the first five years in the new centre, Horsley, Bookham & Leatherhead RDA will:
- Support more disabled people with therapeutic horse rides - Over 180 disabled children a year will increase their confidence, communication, balance, and coordination skills, setting them up with vital skills they will value for the rest of their lives.
- Support a wider range of riders and abilities. Accessible facilities remove barriers for children with profound and multiple disabilities. An hydraulic lift will protect riders and volunteers from injury and promote a feeling of greater independence, dignity and freedom.
- Increase the sense of community, connection, and wellbeing - Living or caring for somebody with a disability means increased risks of social isolation and lack of confidence. More horses and ability to offer evening and weekend sessions means so many more disabled children can benefit from long-term riding, a vital part of which includes making friends. The new viewing platform will be the first time many parents, carers and supporters can actually meet each other, bond, and form a greater sense of community and informal networks of support. Family events and increasing partnerships help build a stronger, more connected community.
- Provide safer lessons for riders and volunteers - A new RDA-approved wax and sand surface will provide a safer and more stable surface, reducing accident and injury risk for horses and volunteers. Many existing volunteers have already said they would volunteer more often if the charity had better facilities and more lessons, which would help with volunteer wellbeing, recruitment and retention.
- Provide a better educational experience for all - The new classroom will allow for better, inclusive indoor education sessions teaching about horses, stable management, anatomy, nutrition and care. These ‘off horse’ sessions will help children form a better connection and understanding of the animals, inspiring a life-long love of learning, nurturing and care.
With your help we can Raise The Roof, just in time!
If you are able to donate, purchase one of the rewards, or even fundraise on our behalf, from the bottom of our hearts (and hoofs!), thank you, thank you, thank you.
If we are lucky enough to raise more than the amount we need to add the roof to the building, we have a long list of things that would really help us on our way.