RDA is recruiting – Corporate Fundraiser

RDA is recruiting a full time, permanent Corporate Fundraiser to join the team at RDA UK, Warwick. Download the Job Description & Person Spec to find out more. Closing date for applications is 16 May 2014

Page Last Updated: April 24, 2014

RDA Holidays – supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Book your RDA 2014 holiday now through your RDA Group.  This year RDA registered Riders and Carriage Drivers have more venues than ever to choose from including the new
RDA Recommended Venues.  

Taking place all over the country between April and September RDA Holidays are a great way to meet like-minded people, enjoy the outdoors and have fun.

More details can be found in the RDA Holiday Brochure 2014 and on our
website RDA Holidays

Print

 

Page Last Updated: February 20, 2014

New Royal Mail Stamp features RDA

Working_Horses_Artwork_RG_08.04.13_Flat

‘Working Horses’ collection includes pony and rider from Epsom RDA

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) features on a new set of Royal Mail stamps as part of a collection called ‘Working Horses’. The pony (Thor) and young rider from Epsom RDA sit alongside The King’s Troop Ceremonial Horses, Drays, Forestry Horses, Police Horses and the Royal Mews Carriage Horses. Released in February, the stamps highlight the variety of roles that horses still play throughout the UK.

“We were delighted when Royal Mail approached us about this project,” said RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher. “Portraying the work of our horses and ponies as part of this series is a fitting acknowledgement of the loyal service they deliver and the vital therapy they provide to our riders and drivers.”

The chosen RDA image features a girl from one of Epsom RDA’s school groups, standing with the support of her walker as she gazes with a huge smile into the kindly face of Thor, one of the Group’s most popular ponies. “It’s a really lovely image,” said Stella Milne, Chairman of Epsom RDA. “They have managed to capture the bond that exists between rider and horse – and of course the fact that it’s one of our riders is particularly special.”

Andrew Hammond, Royal Mail Stamps, said: “Throughout human history, the horse has often been at the centre of events. Today the horse still contributes greatly to society, from practical and recreational uses to the leading ceremonies of state. Royal Mail is delighted to mark the contribution working horses make to British life.”

The stamps are available from 4th February online at www.royalmail.com/workinghorses, by phone on 08457 641 641 and in 10,000 Post Offices throughout the UK.

Ends.

For more information, interviews or to receive images please contact:

Ed Bracher

Chief Executive, Riding for the Disabled Association

Tel: 01926 492915

Email: ebracher@rda.org.uk

Or

Sal Atkinson

Fundraising manager, RDA

Tel 01926 492915

Email: satkinson@rda.org.uk

 

Page Last Updated: February 4, 2014

Wing Yip celebrates Chinese Year of the Horse with RDA

Wing Yip Press Release Photo

 

To mark the start of Chinese New Year of the Horse on 31st January 2014, Wing Yip Director Brian Yip presented a cheque for £1,000 to RDA during a celebratory lunch at the Wing Yip Centre in Nechells on Monday (27th January). The donation will be split between the Lowlands Farm RDA and the RDA National Office. 

“Horses play a great role in providing therapy and enjoyment to people with disabilities so it seems fitting that as we celebrate the Year of the Horse we recognise the role the horse plays in people’s lives through a donation to the RDA,” explained Wing Yip Director Brian Yip.

Sal Atkinson from RDA added: “We rely heavily on businesses like Wing Yip for charitable donations and we are extremely grateful for their generosity. Being in contact with horses and riding is proven to be extremely therapeutic for people with disabilities and we see some really successful results. Donations like this enable us to continue this important work into the future and we hope that the Chinese New Year of the Horse brings us lots of luck with fundraising.”

The 15 day Chinese New Year Festival is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar and will kick off on 31st January. Celebrations are taking place across the UK with Wing Yip hosting dragon dances and promotions across its four superstores in Birmingham, Manchester, Cricklewood and Croydon. To find out more visit www.wingyipstore.co.uk.

 

Page Last Updated: January 30, 2014

World’s second largest private charity donor supports RDA

People’s Postcode Lottery parent company, Novamedia, has just been announced as the world’s second largest private charity donor
  Peoples_Postcode_Lottery_Colour_Logo Read more…..

 

 

Page Last Updated: January 6, 2014

RDA News Autumn 2013 Gala Awards Stories

Read more about our inspirational Gala Award winners in RDA News RDANews_Autumn2013_Awards
To  receive your FREE copy of the magazine email satkinson@rda.org.uk with your full postal address

Clare Balding RDA Gala Awards

 

 

Page Last Updated: December 3, 2013

RDA 2013 RAFFLE WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Congratulations to the winners of the RDA 2013 CASH Raffle!

1st Prize    Mandy Hardcastle from Middlesex – Ticket No 39002

2nd Prize   Anne Coney from Buckinghamshire – Ticket No 39155

3rd Prize   Tina Duffy from Essex – Ticket No 05661

The Group prizes go to:
Woodchurch Driving Group RDA  £500
Scarborough RDA £100
Angus RDA £100
Stranraer Happy Hooves RDA Group  £100
Ashford Valley RDA £100

Thank you to everyone who took part in the raffle.

Page Last Updated: November 21, 2013

RDA Gala Dinner raises £11k

The RDA Gala Awards 2013 took place at Plaisterers’ Hall, London 2 Oct. Hosted by Clare Balding and attended by 200 people the event included a live auction and table raffle and due to the generosity of RDA supporters  raised an incredible £11,000 for the charity.  A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who supported the evening.

Clare Balding RDA Gala Awards

Clare Balding RDA Gala Awards

Page Last Updated: December 4, 2013

RDA Gala Awards winners announced

MANY CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS OF THE RDA GALA AWARDS 2013

RDA Group Brilliant Idea of the Year – sponsored by Automotive Insulation Ltd
Kesteven RDA

RDA Business Partnership of the Year – sponsored by BETA
Severn Trent Water

RDA Most Improved Participant of the Year- sponsored by Childs Farm
Paul Conway of The Unicorn Centre

RDA Horse or Pony of the Year – sponsored by Connected Thinking
Denby from Wenlo and Ashmount RDA Groups

RDA Vet of the Year – sponsored by Merial Animal Health
Winner to be announced on the night. Shortlisted nominations are:

Nick Hart of The Royal Vet College
Tom Miller of Stokesley Vet Practice
Judy Scrine of Mayes and Scrine Vet Practice

RDA Volunteer of the Year – sponsored by Nationwide Uniforms
Jane Gladstone from Nottingham RDA

The Dame Emma-Jane Brown Award for the RDA Pony in recognition of extraordinary service to disabled riders
Winner to be announced on the night

All winners are attending the dinner on 2 October 2013, at Plaisterers’ Hall, London with special guest Clare Balding OBE

Page Last Updated: September 20, 2013

RDA Volunteers are invited to the ACPTR Workshop and Conference

RDA  volunteers are  invited to The ACPTR (Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Therapeutic Riding) workshop on 26/27 September, and the conference on 28/29 September 2013, at Muirfield Riding Therapy, North Berwick, Scotland. More information and the booking form can be found here
ACPTR Conference 2013

Page Last Updated: August 9, 2013

Making it work

RDA is great at harnessing its volunteers’ love for horses as a hobby, but what about as a job? We visited a centre in Surrey that believes there should be a place for RDA as a career for those that want it.

The Diamond Centre in Carshalton, Surrey, is a purpose built RDA centre that is open five days a week for the delivery of riding, carriage driving, hippotherapy and vaulting. The centre welcomes 367 participants every week who come from nearby schools and the local area, with a current age range of 4 to 65.

Just a year away from its 40th anniversary, Diamond operates on an impressive scale, and today has a staggering 400 volunteers on its books. In addition, there are 15 members of staff, including a Yard Manager, 3 full time and 2 part time grooms and office staff. Among the staff and volunteers there are over 20 RDA Coaches.

International reputation

Diamond is rightly proud of the diversity among its participants and the breadth of experience and expertise of its staff and volunteers, and the centre is a popular destination for overseas students who want to learn more about equine therapy of all kinds.

“Students come here for a period of a couple of weeks to up to a year for the experience and to enhance their learning,” explains Centre Administrator, Angela Goldie. “They come to learn; to gather evidence and observations for research, to deepen their understanding of specific disabilities and broaden their knowledge and experience of equine therapy of all kinds.”

Students also benefit from working alongside specialists such as Physiotherapist, Anthea Pell, who alongside two other retired Physios, delivers hippotherapy and physiotherapy to riders.

Home-grown talent

While the overseas student programme is a boost to the Centre’s reputation, Angela and her team are keen to extend RDA knowledge overseas by training students to a high standard.

Despite offering training towards BHS Stage qualifications, RDA Coaching exams and UKCC, the Centre is still mindful of the dearth of good coaches coming up through the volunteering pathway. “We really need more home-grown talent to support the work of RDA in the future,” she says. “And it really makes sense if we can inspire young people in this country to make a career out of equine assisted therapy in some way.”

Learning on the job

With this in mind, the Centre has recently partnered with Merrist Wood, part of Guildford College, to deliver a National Proficiency Tests Council Level 2 Diploma in work based horse care. The work-based aspect of the Diploma makes it ideal for over 16s who want to study horse care in a more practical environment than the classroom.

The course – which is assessed through coursework and practical application –consists of seven mandatory units and up to ten additional options that can include riding and assisting riders with special needs and requirements. Students who successfully achieve the Level 2 Diploma can enter the BHS exams at Stage 2 and can progress to the Level 3 Diploma.

With some accommodation on site, Diamond can even offer residential placements for over 18s, who can stay rent-free during term time. “Now young people are expected to be in education until 18, but classroom based learning and exams just don’t suit everyone,” says Angela. “Through the Diploma, students can become qualified while they work – doing something they love and, hopefully, strengthening RDA for the future.”

Volunteer pathway

The new Diploma is the latest example of Diamond’s commitment in building a strong support network for RDA in the future. “It’s not just a case of inspiring volunteers to stay with RDA,” explains Angela. “It’s about opening their eyes to the career opportunities that complement our work, such as Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and teaching, as well more traditional equestrian jobs such as yard management, coaching and grooming.”

Diamond promotes a structured approach to volunteer training and development, with a focus on education and building skills for life. There is a Junior Volunteer scheme that starts from age 13 and includes training sessions one evening a week until they are ready to progress to Saturdays. The Centre tries to provide a ride for its junior volunteers each week, as well as stable management lectures and training days.

“We try to build a pathway for our volunteers, helping them to progress towards becoming instructors and yard managers. There aren’t many yards offering the kinds of opportunities we can here, and because it’s RDA it really opens their minds to the potential of equine assisted therapy as a career.

“Good Juniors can be trained to be RDA Group Instructors before they are 18. It gives them a skill for life and even if they end up living elsewhere they will always have that RDA training behind them.”

RDA as a career

The first few students are already enrolled on the new Diploma at Diamond, taking an important towards what they expect to be a fulfilling and challenging career in equestrianism.

Angela and her team are realistic about the opportunities that exist for paid employment in the industry, particularly for therapeutic riding as a specialism, but this seems to make them only more driven to give their own volunteers and students the best possible start. “It is hard to find paid employment in RDA, and it is equally hard to find the right people – but I think that’s changing,” she concludes. “if we were recruiting – and someone had this qualification under their belt – it would certainly give them an advantage.’

For more information about The Diamond Centre at the Diploma in work-based horse care, visit www.diamondcentre.org.uk or the Merrist Wood website www.merristwood.ac.uk.

 

 

Page Last Updated: May 20, 2013

British Showjumping selects RDA as Charity of the Year

Contacts

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) have been chosen by British Showjumping as their Charity of the Year 2013.

Iain Graham, Chief Executive for British Showjumping commented  “We have worked closely with Riding for the Disabled charity during the past few years developing the Para Showjumping structure and have always been impressed with their vision and commitment to delivering the benefits that riding brings”.

“We are delighted to have been selected by British Showjumping as their charity.  Our partnership will really help raise awareness of the life changing benefits of RDA” said Sally Atkinson, RDA Fundraising and Events Manager   “We have recently worked with British Showjumping and last year successfully launched Showjumping as an RDA activity. This is a great opportunity to develop our working relationship even further and boost our charity fundraising.”

A range of fundraising initiatives are being planned throughout the year including British Showjumping supporting a table at the RDA Gala Awards Dinner on 2 October 2013.

Page Last Updated: March 27, 2013

RDA riders selected for ParalympicsGB

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is celebrating the announcement of the Paralympics GB team for para-equestrian dressage. Of the five riders chosen to represent Great Britain, four started their equestrian careers with the support of RDA.

Multiple Gold medalist, Lee Pearson is an RDA Honory Life Vice-President and was supported by RDA early in his equestrian career. Sophie Christiansen started riding with RDA for therapy and today trains at South Buckinghamshire RDA. Debbie Criddle rides at the Conquest RDA Centre in Somerset and Natasha Baker started riding with RDA on the recommendation of her Physiotherapist.

“Congratulations to the whole team,” said RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher. “This selection will mean so much to RDA riders and volunteers everywhere, who can feel rightly proud of the part they play in helping people like Sophie and Lee get all the way to the top of their sport. RDA’s 500 Groups across the UK provide opportunities for 28,000 people with disabilities to enjoy and benefit from equestrian activities – and to find out just how much they can achieve.”

Page Last Updated: July 10, 2012

Four Honours for RDA in Jubilee Year

RDA is celebrating following the announcement that four of its volunteers have been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours. Ro Pudden, RDA Senior Instructor and National Equine Welfare Officer; Mary Axford, Chairman of Treborth RDA; Barbara Johnstone, Group Instructor at Ravelrig RDA and Annette Dorsey, Trustee at Harrogate RDA have all been awarded MBEs in recognition of their outstanding work for the charity.

Ro Pudden offered her thanks “to the horses and helpers who make it all happen,” and said the most difficult thing has been keeping the news quiet. “I just wanted to tell everyone,” she said. Barbara Johnstone’s MBE comes hot on the heels of her Inspiring Volunteer of the Year Award, presented last week by Volunteer Edinburgh.

“Congratulations to all four volunteers,” said RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher. “It is always great to see RDA recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and in this Jubilee year it seems particularly special. Annette, Ro, Mary and Barbara are all long-serving RDA volunteers, who continue to make a difference to the lives of hundreds of people with disabilities every year. These Honours are so well deserved and I wish them all well.”

Page Last Updated: June 18, 2012

A Joyful Jubilee Day

Ken Caswell from Bambers Green Carriage Driving Group reports back from a wonderful day at the Queen’s Jubilee Picnic at Buckingham Palace.

On Sunday evening we were driven to our London hotel by Deborah (one of the whips from our group) and her husband. This started what was to be wonderful experience – better than we could ever have anticipated. [Read more…]

Page Last Updated: June 18, 2012

Seventh Heaven

Tucked beside the Cardinal Wolsey pub, on a busy main road in West London, you can find Horse Rangers RDA. Earlier this year, with a grant from RDA National Office, made possible by The Telegraph Christmas Charity Appeal, the group launched a brand new session specifically for 7 to 12 year olds. But this is no ordinary session. We took a visit to Horse Rangers to find out more.

The Horse Rangers Association at Hampton Court has been operational for almost 60 years, and has delivered riding lessons for children and adults with special needs for over 40 years.

In addition to its able-bodied riding and horse care activities, Horse Rangers provides eight hour or half-hour sessions every week during term time for about 48 riders with special needs. While this model has helped boost the use of the stables during the week, like many RDA groups, Horse Rangers has increasingly struggled to meet the demand from children desperate to join in, but who can’t get time out of school.

“The other issue is finding enough volunteer support during the day,” explains Horse Rangers Development Director, Anna McCrum. “We tried running after school sessions on a Monday, but still had the problem of everyone having to rush back from work or school, flustered children and parents and struggling to find volunteers who could make it in time.”

So, it was time for a different approach. And Squadron 7 – as the newly launched Wednesday evening group is named – is certainly different.

Team spirit

Horse Rangers Association is a bit like the Girl Guide or Scouting movements, but with horses. Just as Guides and Scouts are grouped into ‘Sixes’, so Horse Rangers are grouped into Squadrons. Membership starts from just 8 years old and although the upper age limit is technically 18, many Rangers stay with the group and become leaders, sharing what they have learned with the next generation. Indeed, it certainly seems that ‘Once a Horse Ranger – always a Horse Ranger’.

Members progress up the ranks as their skills and experience improve. These promotions bring greater responsibility, including helping out younger members. Crucially, it’s not just about riding. Horse Rangers are expected to learn as much as possible about horse care and stable management, to the extent that every other session they don’t actually ride at all.

“Riding in itself isn’t the motivating factor,” explains Marcia, one of Horse Rangers’ eight RDA Instructors. “Being part of a team is the reward.”

Detailed planning

With the plan in place to create the new session, the group applied to RDA National for a grant, made possible by the Telegraph Christmas Charity Appeal. Having already secured some funding from other sources, and taking into account the income that would be generated from participants’ monthly subscriptions, the Group applied for £6,500 to meet their projected shortfall for the first year of running the session.

“We submitted a project plan, detailing the purpose of the sessions, our goals and expected outcomes, our criteria for measuring success and of course our financial plan,” explains Anna. “We knew our project would meet the criteria for the grant, but we had been unsuccessful in two previous bids to other organisations and we were desperate for this one to succeed.”

Fortunately, Horse Rangers’ application was successful, and the pilot project for Squadron 7 is now up and running, with ten young people currently enjoying Wednesday evening sessions from 6.15 to 7.45pm.

Sharing goals

When the RDA Horse Rangers arrive, there is that familiar excitement that heralds the start of every RDA session, but instead of getting ready to mount, they assemble in an upstairs hall above the stable block. The register is taken, weekly news is read out and the Rangers are reminded which group they are in that week: riding or stable management.

The children all wear their Horse Rangers uniform. It’s the same as the Instructors and volunteers and adds to the sense of belonging. The uniform tells you that everyone in the room shares the same goals – no matter what their role – and that everyone is there to learn and to progress. On a beam above the assembled group is a sign bearing the legend: Remember – the Horse Rangers Association is bigger than all of us.

Working together

Soon it’s time to get started. Riders are expected to help tack up their ponies, and the stable management group scour the whiteboard for their allocated jobs – anything from mucking out and filling water buckets to tack cleaning, grooming or tidying.

The children attack their work with enthusiasm and care and it genuinely seems that they don’t mind not riding – they are with their friends, they are working together, and that’s what matters. One of the Rangers gallops past – using his broom as an imaginary pony for the time being.

Sporting chance

One of the main driving forces behind Squadron 7 is Jo O’Sullivan. Jo is an RDA Group Instructor and also an Early Years Play Therapist. Through her work in the local community, Jo knows all too well how few opportunities there are for young people with special needs – and how much they are in demand. Naturally, she is also passionate about the benefits that activities such as Horse Rangers can deliver – particularly she was herself a Ranger.

“The group of children we have targeted for this project are those with relatively low levels of special needs. They might attend mainstream or special needs schools, but in each case you find they don’t tend to get the sporting opportunities that other kids do,” she explains. “Whatever their disability, when they are here we expect our RDA Horse Rangers to do everything that the other Squadrons do. It’s not always possible, but we start with the expectation that it is.”

Building confidence

As Jo talks, some of the horse care team come back to the hall for their break (a drink and healthy snack which they buy from the tuck shop), then they begin pouring over their scrapbooks. Each Horse Ranger gets their own book to stick in pictures of their favourite horses and ponies and to write something on a given topic. This week it’s ‘what I did with Horse Rangers over the Summer’, and the group shares memories of the gymkhana, and of riding out in Bushy Park.

One of the children doing stable management this week is Gemma. Gemma is missing some vocal chords and has a condition that causes her to have reduced muscle strength and coordination, particularly in her arms and hands. She chats away happily about her favourite ponies and how much she enjoys Horse Rangers.

Gemma’s mum, Andrea, says that the RDA sessions have already started to build Gemma’s confidence and helped to improve her coordination. “They also give me peace of mind,” she says. “I have always worried about her doing adventurous things because she can’t call for help or get attention if she suddenly needed it, but I have complete confidence here. I know she is safe. And it’s amazing seeing what she can do.”

Willing volunteers

Horse Rangers RDA has a problem that most other RDA groups would be happy to have: a waiting list of volunteers. The formation of Squadron 7 has helped to reduce this waiting list, since it meets at a more convenient time than the other RDA sessions that run during school hours.

Drawn from the local community and from other Horse Rangers Squadrons, a large proportion of the volunteers are teenagers. Fourteen year-old Kieran does about twelve hours of volunteering a week, and says he likes it because it’s different from what his other friends do. Other young volunteers talk about ‘always going home in a good mood’, the positive experience of making a difference and of seeing children progressing.

Expansion plans

As the session draws to an end, the Squadron regroups in the hall before goodbyes are said, the children go home and the volunteers tidy up. The nights are beginning to draw in and the talk turns to the challenges that winter will undoubtedly bring.

With no indoor school, limited outside lighting and a Grade One listed stable block that can’t be updated, no one is looking forward to the cold. But despite that, spirits are high. With plans to double the size of Squadron 7 (creating two different age groups), a seemingly unlimited list of fundraising ideas and some serious people-power, there is real optimism for the future. “Squadron 7 gives us the chance to pool the best of everything that we have at Horse Rangers,” concludes Jo. “It’s up to us to make the most of it.”

[Read more…]

Page Last Updated: October 10, 2012