Horsley, Bookham & Leatherhead Riding for the Disabled Association seek to Raise the Roof!

Horsley, Bookham & Leatherhead Riding for the Disabled Association (HB&L RDA) – the life-changing charity that provides therapeutic horse riding sessions for children and young adults with disabilities – today launches a crowdfunding appeal to raise the £100,000 required to complete its new purpose-built facility.

The Raise the Roof appeal seeks support from members of the public and the local community to help the charity fund the roof for its new weatherproof indoor arena at Badgers Farm in Effingham – enabling more young people with disabilities to ride more of the time.

With a long waiting list, HB&L RDA – which is entirely volunteer run –  desperately needed larger premises.  When, in October 2020 and due to the impact of Covid-19, the charity’s landlord for more than forty years sadly had to ask HB&L RDA to leave, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arose to build a fully accessible centre at nearby Badgers Farm, enabling the charity to increase the number of young riders it can help and also allowing additional accessible facilities so that HB&L RDA can welcome a wider range of riders and abilities.

Thanks to the generosity of the National Lottery and a number of Trusts, Foundations and individuals, HB&L RDA has raised 80% of the funds required to build its new centre.  Now, it is turning to the public and the local community to ask for their help in raising the final £100,000 that will put the roof on the new, fully accessible facility so that 180 disabled young people can have access to horse riding weekly all year round.

Sheri Johnson, Chair of Horsley, Bookham & Leatherhead RDA, said:

“We are so very grateful to those who have supported our appeal to date.”

“This has been an extraordinary time, and many of our vulnerable young riders have been particularly isolated.  Never has there been such demand for our services and, with your help, together we can change the lives of more young adults with disabilities by helping them gain a sense of independence and achievement which, in turn, builds self-confidence.”

“Please help us to Raise the Roof so that more young people with disabilities can ride more of the time.”

Karen, Mum of 9 year old Lance who has been riding with HB&L RDA since he was three, said:

“Lance’s riding lesson was something he looked forward to and has been a consistent part of his life through preschool, infants and into juniors.  He has missed it so much in lockdown.  We are delighted to support this campaign for Lance and for all others that will benefit from the amazing work of the RDA.  Help us Raise the Roof and get Lance and all his friends back in the saddle.”

Equestrian and eight-time Paralympic champion, Sophie Christiansen, CBE, who is supporting the appeal, said:

“I am passionate about the difference local RDA groups make to the lives of disabled children and adults. Children like me. Thanks to my physiotherapist, who believed in the benefits of horse riding for children with disabilities, I was put in touch with my local RDA group and started riding at the age of 6.  I couldn’t walk or run like the other children, but when I sat on a horse I felt free – my career in dressage has all escalated from that first moment.”

“I am delighted to support the Horsley, Bookham & Leatherhead RDA appeal.  I cannot imagine how my life would be now without the crucial RDA support I had for so many years.  This organisation does so much to transform disabled people’s lives, to bring joy, to bring freedom and to deliver achievement. With this funding secured, a new facility built and an expanded number of riders, we may find the future Paralympic riders for Team GB.  I do hope so.”

To find out more and to support the Raise the Roof appeal, please visit: www.horsleyandbookhamrda.co.uk/

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