Community Stars nominee Haworth Riding for the Disabled is an Olympic hit (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Community Stars nominee Haworth Riding for the Disabled is an Olympic hit
A Haworth-based charity that helps disabled youngsters enjoy the benefits of horse riding is the latest recipient of the Telegraph and Argus Community Stars award.
Haworth Riding for the Disabled (RDA), which loses its lottery funding this autumn, was nominated by volunteer Jane Lawrence, who pointed out the successes of the group over the past 12 months.
She said the charity plays an important part in allowing young people to take part in community life and avoid being marginalised.
Nominating the group, she said: “They encourages all riders to participate in riding for the disabled competitions as this builds confidence, independence, self- esteem, family pride and social skills.
“This year, for the first time, they have had four riders enter the Special Olympics for people with learning disabilities. The results were outstanding, with the riders achieving four gold medals, one silver and four bronze medals.
“Work is now in progress to prepare more riders for the next Special Olympics in two years’ time, so they too can benefit from this unique experience.”
Joanne Dodds, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford, has also described the facility as “absolutely wonderful”.
She spent about an hour at the stables, in Vale Mill Lane, Cross Roads, on Saturday, accompanied by her consort and husband, Robert Dodds.
They met staff and volunteers, watched riding sessions, chatted to riders and their parents and were given a tour of the site.
Haworth RDA’s lottery cash – £380,000 over five years – runs out in October, and the group is applying for alternative funds.
“It’s a fantastic place – I was so impressed,” said Coun Dodds.
“Riders were proudly showing me medals they had won at the Special Olympics and parents spoke about what a huge difference the group had made to their children.
“The work that the staff and volunteers do is fabulous.
“And I would encourage anyone who knows or hears of any potential funding sources that the group could benefit from, to let them know. I will certainly be keeping my ear to the ground.”
Haworth RDA is affiliated to Bradford Disability Sport and Leisure, the beneficiary of this year’s Lord Mayor’s Appeal.
Mrs Jackie Butterfield, the RDA group’s founder and manager, said the Big Lottery Fund cash – which was specifically for staffing and to help towards running costs – had provided a massive boon.
“It has made a big impact,” she said. “It’s enabled us to grow and reach a lot of people in the community.
“We’re currently looking at other possible sources of funding. We don’t want to lose staff.”
The group, which began in 2001 and has grown rapidly over the years, relies on its own fundraising efforts and donations to maintain its facilities.
It has seven staff and more than 60 volunteers, and caters for more than 160 riders – from four upwards – each year, offering a variety of different programmes.
Riders also come from other parts of the UK on holidays, staying at Haworth Youth Hostel and taking part in riding sessions and social activities.