Horsley, Bookham & Leatherhead Riding for the Disabled Press release – September 2022
The Big Build – they did it!
Horsley, Bookham & Leatherhead RDA (reg charity number 1170049) are delighted to announce the opening of our new fully accessible, all weather riding centre at Badgers Farm, Effingham. Over the past two years they have been fundraising so they could ‘Raise the Roof’ and create their new home.
On the 9th August 2021 they broke ground and the first digger was on site. Over the next 8 months they watched as the amazing builders from FORMA slowly excavated the ground, dug huge foundations, poured plenty of concrete, then bought in a crane and slowly the new centre started to take shape. The roof went up and then the walls, and their fabulous new surface arrived (top spec RDA grade – only the best for their ponies, volunteers, and riders). Work progressed inside with the new classroom, kitchen and toilets taking shape as well as the covered tie up area for their ponies & riders.
In April 2021 they were ready to start using the arena for RDA sessions, and gradually they built up the small army of volunteers they needed and added more ponies to their RDA herd, so they could take more riders from more local schools. They were very proud to run a full term of RDA sessions before their summer break.
On the 24th September 2022, they hosted their official Grand Opening, and were delighted to have the ribbon cut on their new arena by Sophie Christiansen CBE. Their open day was attended by over 60 local supporters, riders, fundraisers, volunteers, and, of course, their ponies.
They have managed this huge achievement to ‘Raise the Roof’ in such a short time thanks to the hard work of those involved in fundraising, the advice from RDA South East Region, the help they have had from local and national organisations through grants and gifts, and the unswerving support from their local neighbours, community and friends who have supported this local project.
Their chairperson, Sheri Johnson, said ‘This entire Project all began thanks to a generous offer from the Williams family of a favourable lease of land and livery terms here at Badgers Farm. Without that, none of this would have been possible. Since then, so many individuals, Foundations & Trusts, local companies, village councils and charities and even the National Lottery have contributed to making our dream a reality. The generosity and support have been both humbling and amazing.’
Looking ahead they are now running over 10 sessions a week and hope to welcome more children from their ever-growing backlog. To achieve this, the Horsley, Bookman & Leatherhead are always looking for new volunteers for just a couple of hours each week (no prior experience is necessary). If you are interested in getting involved, please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about the charity, their new centre and the work, do please visit their website: www.hblrda.co.uk