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Buchan Riding For The Disabled Association at risk of closure

By Kirsty Brown

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Members of the Buchan branch of the Riding For The Disabled Association (RDA) met recently to make plans for sessions resuming after an 18 month break caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

During this time, the group has experienced a natural decline in the number of people who are available to help with the running of the group, but due to the closure no new helpers have joined the group.

With no new helpers or people willing to be on the committee, and if the key positions of office bearers and trustees remain unfilled, Buchan RDA will cease to exist.

The AGM is scheduled to take place on Tuesday September 21 in Auchnagatt Village Hall at 7pm and anyone who is interested is welcome to go along to the AGM.

At the most basic level, volunteers are needed to provide practical support to make the experience a safe and positive one for the riders.

A certain level of physical fitness is required for this, and a little bit of equine knowledge would be advantageous, but one of the regular helpers explained that it is not just about working with horses and riders, highlighting that a lot happens behind the scenes.

She said: “There is some essential administrative work involving record-keeping (both financial, and those relating to helpers and riders).

"Regular liaison with schools, Adult Resource Centres, and independent riders is required on an on-going basis.

"There are also responsibilities involving fundraising and grant applications.

"All of these operational activities are overseen by the Trustees.

"They are responsible for the strategic direction and governance of the group, whilst day-to-day running is delegated to the chairperson, secretary and treasurer, who are all volunteers.

"It is hoped that this appeal will help secure the group’s future and enable it to continue.”

Nationally, the RDA has been providing riding and carriage driving opportunities for over 50 years, for people with additional support needs.

Locally, the Buchan Branch of the RDA has offered horse-riding to adults and children for nearly 40 years.

Buchan RDA is based at Ladymire Equestrian Centre, near Ellon, where there is access to a purpose-built indoor school and an adequate selection of suitable horses and ponies as well as pleasant facilities for hacking out in good weather.

Sessions only run during term time.

A spokesperson for the group said: “The success of the activity is entirely dependent on input and support from volunteers.

"Riders’ parents, families, teachers and carers all recognise the benefits of riding as a form of regular exercise.

"We hope for a good turnout at the AGM on September 21.

"Please help to ensure the future of Buchan RDA, so that it can go from strength to strength.”

If you are keen to find out more about the work of Buchan RDA, contact buchanrda@outlook.com.

Alternatively, you can phone Juliette Norcott on 01224 708873 or 07890 582596 or e-mail her at Juliet.norcott@btopenworld.com.

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