East Antrim RDA in urgent need of a driver

Instructor Judith Watt and volunteer Jonathan Stirling with a young rider.
Instructor Judith Watt and volunteer Jonathan Stirling with a young rider.

East Antrim Riding for the Disabled Association has issued an urgent appeal for a volunteer driver.

The Ballyclare-based charity, which offers therapy and fun for children and adults, would like to hear from anyone who can take on the key role.

In a statement, RDA explained: “We are a charity, and we can only carry out our life-changing activities thanks to the generosity of our donors, the dedication of our volunteers and the good nature of our fantastic horses.

“One local group is East Antrim RDA, which meets on Monday mornings at Laurel View Equestrian Centre, Ballyclare. Our riders are children with severe challenges and the group need more volunteers. T

“There is a very urgent need for a minibus driver to transport riders from their (nearby) school to Laurel View and back again. The main requirement is a clean driving licence - you do not need a minibus licence as a volunteer.”

RDA would also welcome others keen to help out with its work.

“We also need volunteers with either some interest in horses or a desire to work with our riders.

“After an initial visit, should you wish to help, you would need to commit to most Monday mornings in term time from September until June.

“Our volunteers may have one of three roles: leading a pony, walking next to a rider, or educating riders as they wait their turn. You may have as much or as little contact with the ponies as you like (but you will not be riding).

“Should you be interested but not available on a Monday morning, there are also groups meeting at Laurel View on Tuesday mornings, Tuesday evenings and Thursday evenings.”

The positive impact of the RDA sessions on participants was highlighted in a letter to the charity from an appreciative parent.

The parent, in a letter shared by the charity, stated: “I am writing to you to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you at East Antrim RDA. My son Oran and his friends from school have been attending with yourselves on and off over a few years.

“As you probably know, Oran had A lot of difficulty in getting up the courage to get onto the horses.

“I now take great pride in saying that after four years of perseverance and encouragement from yourselves, Oran finally gathered the courage to get onto a horse and he absolutely loves it. We are all so proud of him.

“I am very grateful to everyone at RDA for your kindness, patience and encouragement. I can’t thank you enough. I have a very happy boy now.”

If you think volunteering for RDA is something that would interest you, contact eastantrimrda@gmail.com