Cash joy for Haworth riding group

Jackie Butterfield, front right, joins staff, volunteers and users to celebrate the National Lottery grant

Jackie Butterfield, front right, joins staff, volunteers and users to celebrate the National Lottery grant

First published in News by

A riding for the disabled group has received a lottery windfall that will secure its future.

Haworth RDA has been awarded £406,751 by the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities programme.

The cash will enable the highly acclaimed charity to continue providing invaluable facilities to riders at its Vale Mill Lane stables.

“We are absolutely delighted and relieved,” said Jackie Butterfield, the group’s founder and manager. “Everybody is over the moon.

“The funding is important, as it will allow us to maintain our current staffing levels, which means we can continue to deliver our unique form of therapy to individuals with physical and learning disabilities.

“We can now carry on supporting our 300-plus current beneficiaries, helping them to improve flexibility, core strength, motor skills, self-confidence, self-esteem and general well-being and ultimately support their independence and help prevent their marginalisation from the wider community.”

News of the funding has brought to an end an anxious period for Haworth RDA, whose previous lottery funding – £380,000 over five years for staffing and some running costs – expired last year.

An application for renewed funds was submitted several months ago. The group has about half a dozen paid staff and a team of around 60 volunteers, providing activities every day for riders from four upwards.

It has grown rapidly since its foundation in 2001 and now caters for more than 160 riders a year.

Riders also come from other parts of the UK on holidays, staying at Haworth Youth Hostel and taking part in riding sessions and social activities.

Last summer, four riders scooped a nine-medal haul at the Special Olympics in Gloucestershire.

Among them was Brian Bentley, who has been with the group since its launch.

Initially he was apprehensive and anxious, having never ridden a horse before.

Now he enters national RDA competitions and scooped two golds and a silver medal at last year’s Special Olympics.

“In 2010 Brian’s confidence had increased to such a level he decided he wanted to become a volunteer as well as a rider – completing his volunteers’ green card and badge later that year,” said Mrs Butterfield.

“And in 2012 he completed his ASDAN Towards Independence qualification in horse care and horse management.”

Alison Rowe, for the Big Lottery Fund, said: “The project is providing people with positive opportunities, enabling them to lead more fulfilled lives.”

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