Riding for Smiles (RfS), based at the Coloured Cob Equestrian Centre in Creswell, has received funding from the Toyota Passport Fund to help disabled children to participate in equestrian activities.
With the funding, the charity has purchased a horse drawn carriage which has been designed and built to accommodate wheelchairs. RfS is now able to offer carriage riding for wheelchair users alongside its existing successful programmes for disabled children, young people and adults.
This is an awesome new venture for RfS and the schools and people they support at a time when demand has increased by 300% from pre-pandemic levels.
The Sport England, Toyota GB and the British Paralympic Association fund provides equipment aimed at helping disabled people to become more active in England. It awarded the project £5,000 of funding. The development of the fund came via Parasport, powered by Toyota – an online hub created by the British Paralympic Association to empower disabled people with the information and inspiration they need to become more active.
Further funding of over £6,000 has followed from a variety of other sources. The Clothworkers’ Foundation has awarded a grant of £6,000 for the building of new facilities for users in wheelchairs, and RfS is grateful to Safety Belt Solutions for designing and making a safety system to protect users during loading and unloading, to Hartland Carriages for designing and building the carriage and the many other people and organisations who have donated to RfS.
This project is about inclusivity. RfS can now offer equestrian experiences irrespective of disability. They work with those who have physical, social, learning, behavioural and emotional / mental disabilities or multiple needs and those who are disaffected, excluded or marginalised.
Dr Geoff Cutts, Chair of the Trustees, Riding for Smiles, said: “We were delighted to be successful with this bid and very grateful for the grants and donations which helped us get the project going. It’s been a tough year for the charity so we are so pleased to be offering equestrian experiences again to the many schools and groups that have supported us from the start.
“Requests for visits to the stables are over 300% up on pre-pandemic levels. RfS could not operate without the awesome partnership we treasure with the Coloured Cob Equestrian Centre who deliver the equestrian experiences on our behalf. Excited, you bet.”
To find out more about the charity see www.ridingforsmiles.org.