Buchan Riding for the Disabled group at risk of closure
The Buchan branch of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) desperately needs new helpers and committee members – or the group will cease to exist.
Branch members met recently to make plans for the resumption of sessions, which have not taken place for the last 18 months due to the covid-19 pandemic.
During this time, the number of people available to help with the running of the group has dwindled, and more helpers and committee members – particularly in the key positions of office bearers and trustees – are required if the group is to continue.
The Buchan branch is appealing for anyone able to help out to get in touch and attend the AGM, scheduled for Tuesday, September 21, in Auchnagatt Village Hall, at 7pm.
At its 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.
She pointed out a lot happens behind the scenes, adding: “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 Riding for the Disabled Association 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, just south of Ellon, where there is access to a purpose-built indoor school and an adequate selection of suitable horses and ponies.
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.”