Gold medalist Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson visited charity Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) at Kesteven Rideability, Hough on the Hill, yesterday.
Her visit marked the one year anniversary of BT Sport’s charity The Supporters Club, as part of its #WeAre1 campaign. The Supporters Club selected the RDA as one of its first beneficiaries, awarding the charity a significant grant in 2013.
The RDA provides therapeutic support for disabled children and adults across the UK through horse riding and carriage driving. Money raised by The Supporters Club charity has enabled RDA to increase their capacity, supporting six local riding centres including Kesteven Rideability and as a result benefiting 502 young riders and workers.
At Kesteven Rideability, the backing has helped RDA introduce two new activities, Showjumping and Endurance. Bradley, aged 11, has autism and has recently qualified for the RDA National Championships, Skyla, aged 8 has Cerebral Palsy, and benefits from riding in the junior saddle club, and in the area there is a lot of demand for younger children such as Becky, aged 7, with Down’s Syndrome to join the Junior saddle club, but due to a lack of resources this has not yet been possible. But this July, through the backing of The Supporters Club, Kesteven Rideability will be launching a new session dedicated to Tots of the Saddle Club (for riders aged under seven years) and is looking to increase riding hours by 30 sessions over the year, amounting to an increase in participant numbers by 20 per cent.
Baroness Grey-Thompson met with young riders, observed their dressage, showjumping and skills work, and also gave them the opportunity to ask her questions. Having also met with the dedicated RDA Volunteers, she said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to be here and see young disabled people getting on horses and riding. It gives them so much freedom and confidence, it’s incredible. Without initiatives like BT Sport’s The Supporters Club, they wouldn’t be able to do as much as they are doing. It’s that additional money that makes a huge difference because so many projects like this at a local level are run by volunteers who are just trying to find money, the right people and the right things to make a difference and at this level, it makes a huge impact on young disabled people’s lives.”
Mayor of Grantham, Coun Ian Selby, a former showjumper, was also a guest. Coun Selby said: “I am always thrilled to support Kesteven Rideabilty and the fabulous work they do. It was also a privilege to meet Baronness Tanni Grey Thompson. She is an iconic woman, so obliging and so down to earth. Tanni kindly gave me an interview for my radio show; The Mayor on Sunday on Gravity FM.”
Sal Atkinson, Fundraising Manager for RDA UK said, “It was a pleasure to welcome Tanni and representatives of The Supporters Club to Kesteven, to witness firsthand the real difference that their support makes to our riders. With money from BT Supporters Club we are able to help RDA Groups like this across the UK to build capacity and enable even more young people to benefit from our activities.”
Dave Rowley, Senior Commercial Manager, The Supporters Club, said: “The Supporters Club is all about creating incredible opportunities though the power of sport. It was a pleasure to mark our one year anniversary with the visit to Kesteven and to celebrate the new opportunities youngsters have there.”