A highly-acclaimed riding for the disabled group is still waiting to hear if desperately-needed lottery funding will be renewed.

Haworth RDA was expecting to learn before Christmas whether its bid had been successful.

But the charity, which is hoping for renewal of the now-expired £380,000 it had received over five years to cover staffing and some running costs, faces more weeks of anxiety.

“Apparently the Big Lottery Fund’s computer systems were down for about three weeks and there is a huge backlog – everything has been delayed,” said the RDA group's founder and manager, Jackie Butterfield.

“It is frustrating, but what can we do? We are having to use some of our reserves to help meet staffing costs at the moment, and are just hoping we hear something soon.”

The group – founded in 2001 – has half-a-dozen paid staff and a team of about 60 volunteers, providing activities every day at the Vale Mill Lane stables for riders aged from four upwards. It caters for more than 160 riders each year.

Four riders scooped a nine-medal haul at the Special Olympics at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire last summer.

The charity relies on its own fundraising efforts and donations to maintain its facilities.

Group fundraiser, Jane Lawrence, said: “The simulator will allow us to further develop the skills of current riders in a safe and controlled environment, encourage new riders to experience riding for the first time and be available to everyone for its therapeutic benefits, as it has no upper weight limit.

“It is a crucial piece of equipment for the service we provide.”

The RDA is more than £19,000 towards its target. A £2,000 donation was received recently from the Greggs Foundation, and grants have been given by Sports England, the Sir Bernard Sunley Charitable Trust and Cash for Kids. The group can be contacted on 01535 649448.