09 August 2021

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From the closure of groups to reopening within social distancing restrictions, Riding for the Disabled Association has had to adapt and thrive in order to ensure we continue to support those who rely on its services, and has only been able to do so with the support of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

RDA is a community of 500 groups, 18,000 volunteers and 25,000 disabled children, young people and adult beneficiaries. No other UK charity does what it does. Through spending time with horses and fun activities, such as riding, holidays, and educational programmes, RDA provides therapy and fitness – resulting in improved physical and mental wellbeing.

It is now working with groups to adapt to the challenges presented by the pandemic, to develop and thrive in the future, and re-engage with communities.

RDA will offer tailored advice, practical support, as well as grants – all designed to help groups to develop recovery plans that are flexible, allowing them to reopen, stay open, respond to the planned easing of restrictions, or adapt quickly to any changes in guidelines or tier levels, whilst working towards sustainability.

In 2020, players helped the charity provide advice, guidance and financial support to get groups started after lockdown. This included:

  • Training advice, consent forms, checklists, advice on PPE and Track & Test processes
  • Adapted activities eg. Quiet Corner (spending time with ponies on the ground, grooming activities etc.)
  • Eight grants to groups to support the care of horses and funding to restart
  • A series of workshops and e-learning modules for volunteers on a range of topics including: safeguarding and autism awareness – 790 volunteers registered for e-learning and almost 1,500 courses were completed
"The training was excellent. I've worked in mental health services for over 25 years, 19 of which were in the NHS and it was so refreshing and supportive to hear the RDA safeguarding training focusing on both the duty of care to participants and volunteers. It was so refreshing that the RDA is thinking of and looking after its volunteers as well as our participants." RDA volunteer.

Calon RDA, supports rural communities in Wales.

Travel can be a big issue in spread-out rural communities, and Calon RDA knew that if they could bring their brilliant horses to their participants – rather than the other way round – this would help to increase the number of people who could benefit. An RDA grant - made possible by the players has achieved just that.

Their new trailer fits two horses safely and securely, allowing them to ‘tour’ the region and deliver sessions at local facilities closer to where participants live.
So far, this has helped to triple the number of days the group can run – and each participant now gets a weekly session.

Over £3.7 million has been raised for RDA by players.