Six equestrian centres in Britain have been granted more than £200,000 between them for projects aimed at improving accessibility and increasing participation in equestrian sport.
The grants are part of the latest round of Sport England Inspired Facilities Funding, in which the six centres have received funding to refurbish and improve their facilities.
To date the project has funded more than 1300 projects that have improved and refurbished sports clubs and transformed non-sporting venues into modern grassroots sports facilities.
Benefiting from this round is the Friends of Landlord Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Group [Wigan], Northern Racing College [Doncaster], Chiverton RDA Group [Truro], Tyne and Wear RDA Group [Tyne and Wear], Barrow Farm RDA Group [Chelmsford] and Ferring Country Centre [Worthing].
The grants will support the development of new arenas, improvement of training facilities, provision of lighting as well as construction of mounting and dismounting areas for disabled people. Tyne and Wear RDA Group is updating its stable facilities to deliver a wide range of horse care courses for centre users in a safer and more accessible environment.
“We are so grateful to Sport England for their support of our project, as we would not have been able to raise this level of funding on our own,” said RDA Volunteer, Eileen Curley.
“We have always been dedicated to ensuring that all of our riders receive a high standard of professional tuition, tailored to their personal capabilities and to help them achieve their potential, however, many of our riders also want to understand how to care for the horses too. The upgraded stable block will provide a wider range of horse care courses in a safer and more accessible environment, primarily for the benefit of our RDA clients, and with the aim of moving the Centre forward to a first class educational establishment ” Curley said.
“Sport England’s commitment to improving facilities for disabled people who want to get involved in equestrian activities is hugely welcome,” said RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher. “Demand for riding and carriage driving among people with disabilities far outstrips current capacity and each of the projects supported by Sport England will make a big difference for people in these communities across the country.”
Hoof, the British Equestrian Federation’s legacy programme, has been working in partnership with the RDA to increase the number of riding opportunities for disabled people through the development of the Accessibility Mark. The Accessibility Mark project aims to provide training, assistance and accreditation to riding centres, schools and clubs to enable more disabled people to participate in horse riding activities.
The Inspired Facilities funding is open all year round; the next decision meeting will take place in September 2014.