RDA UK awards £70,000 in direct grants to member groups

‘Crisis & Resilience’ fund helps groups to respond, rebuild and recover from lockdown’

Riding for the Disabled Association has issued 31 grants to its member groups around the UK totalling £70,000.  The ‘Crisis & Resilience’ grants support groups in immediate financial need, as well as those making to plans to re-open after lockdown.

This is the second wave of grants that RDA UK has awarded to its groups during the crisis, all of which had to close as a result of lockdown. This left many groups without the income of their weekly sessions and unable to fundraise through events and activities. As lockdown eases and groups begin planning for reopening, the grants will fund a range of measures to help resume activities safely and within government guidelines.

The funded projects include new hand washing stations, hay and feed for horses, an accessible mounting ramp and training for new volunteers.

“Our research has showed us the impact that prolonged RDA group closure is having on our riders and carriage drivers, with the vast majority experiencing a decline in their physical and mental wellbeing,” says RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher. “Although social distancing makes it difficult for many of our groups to return to their normal activity levels, we are trying to help as many as possible to plan for reopening – even in a small way.”

“These grants support a range of projects to help welcome riders back, even if it’s just to spend some much-needed time with a favourite horse, or to have a chance to meet up with RDA friends and volunteers again. Not everyone will be able to get back to riding or carriage driving just yet, but we want as many of our groups as possible to do what they can.”

Barnsley RDA received a grant to fund a hand washing station on their site. Group Chair, Connie Grayson said: “I cannot tell you how much this means to us and more importantly to our riders. We will be able to restart! Lockdown has been hard for all of us, but especially for our riders, for whom RDA is a weekly highlight. We know it has been really tough for them, missing out on the physical activity of riding, as well as the social side. We look forward to welcoming our riders back as soon as we can.”

The grants have been made possible thanks to the public’s generous support of RDA’s fundraising appeal; Sport England and the British Equestrian Federation and players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

You can donate to RDA’s Resilience appeal at rda.org.uk/donate.