RDA launches project to build a National Training Centre

Project Patrons HRH The Princess Royal and Sophie Christiansen OBE to front fundraising appeal

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has launched a project to build a National Training Centre in Warwickshire. The Centre – to be built at Lowlands EC, near Warwick – will bring together, train and inspire the charity’s volunteers and coaches from around the UK.

The development of a National Training Centre is an exciting and robust response to some of the challenges and opportunities faced by RDA as it reaches its 50th anniversary. In recent years the charity has developed the range of activities it offers as well as the areas of training offered to volunteers (including equine welfare, safeguarding, disability awareness and volunteer management). In addition, RDA’s coaches and volunteers are supporting ever more complex forms of disability, especially in the areas of multi-disability, learning disabilities and mental health problems.

Project Patron and RDA President HRH The Princess Royal said: “As RDA looks forward to the next 50 years, this project to build a National training Centre will draw on all the experience and strength of community at Lowlands to create a vital and inspirational focal point for learning of which we can all be proud.

“RDA has built a world class reputation on the strength of its expertise, coaching and horsemanship. These are strengths that must remain at the heart of everything we do in the coming years. The Lowlands project will ensure we can maintain our high standards and develop our training programmes to ensure the best possible experience for RDA’s riders and carriage drivers long into the future.”

The Centre will be home to the four existing RDA groups that currently operate there; stables and grazing for 20 horses; indoor and outdoor arenas; training and conference facilities; some overnight accommodation and offices. As a working yard with indoor and outdoor arenas and classrooms, the Centre will provide the ideal environment for hosting practical training sessions; workshops and demonstrations as well as events and competitions. The focus of training will be putting riders’ and drivers’ needs first, and this message will be at the heart of everything that happens at Lowlands.

“As someone whose life was transformed by learning to ride with RDA, I am delighted to be able to support this project to create a National Training Centre,” said Project Patron and Paralympian Sophie Christiansen OBE. “I was lucky enough to be taught by a series of inspirational coaches, without whom I would never have discovered a talent for riding.

“RDA could see my potential as a young athlete and supported me every step of the way to the Paralympics. But achievement does not have to be a gold medal. It could be teaching a rider to sit up straight so they can go on to live independently or to be able to communicate to others to help on the journey to employment. Coaches can change lives.”

RDA needs to raise £900,000 to help develop the site at Lowlands EC and is looking for individual and corporate donors. To register your interest in the project, to donate money or to offer equipment or expertise, please contact Sal Atkinson at RDA UK on 01926 405975 or email satkinson@rda.org.uk.

Page Last Updated: October 17, 2016