Riding for the Disabled

Major grant and fundraising partnership to power Riding for the Disabled Association NSW

We’re very pleased to announced that we have provided Riding for the Disabled (RDA) at Raymond Terrace and the Lower Hunter (RT&LH), with a $15,000 grant.

The grant will reduce the budget deficit and assist with the installation of a solar panel system at the association’s Raymond Terrace and Lower Hunter Centre’s arena and office complex on the Pacific Highway, with the aim of eliminating its quarterly $1200 electricity bills and reducing its environmental impact.

We will also help RDA fundraise a further $15,000 to convert power-hungry lighting at the group’s Pacific Highway arena to low-voltage equipment, to reduce its energy consumption, especially for evening programmes.

RDA RT&LH secretary and coach Carol Brown says the partnership with Beyond Bank has the double bonus of reducing the Centre’s annual operating costs while helping ensure its long term sustainability.

“Like everyone, our electricity bills have been steadily increasing and our fundraising hasn’t been able to cover our operating costs for the past couple of years. We’ve been considering how we can reduce our costs and one way is to switch to solar power,” Mrs Brown said.

“Thanks to the Beyond Bank grant, we plan to have the panels installed in early 2015 so we’ll see an immediate benefit to our bottom line and that will further improve once we convert our existing lighting to low voltage LED lights.”

RDA has been operating in the region since 1979 and now provides lessons six days and three nights a week to around 100 children and adults with disabilities. The students travel up to 90 minutes for a one-hour carriage-driving or riding lesson that helps develop their gross and fine motor skills, improves their balance and builds their confidence and self-esteem.

Mrs Brown said that with no other similar service operating in the region, the group had a waiting list of 100 and planned to expand its services – fundraising and volunteers permitting.

“We are incredibly grateful to Beyond Bank for its financial support and its willingness to partner with us to raise the extra funds needed to ensure the long term sustainability of our Centre,” Mrs Brown said.

“As a not-for-profit, managing operating costs and raising sufficient funds to keep providing a service is always a challenge.”

Mollyjane Boyson from New Lambton is just one of the many children who enjoy attending RDA. Her Mother Jessica said Mollyjane has been attending the Tuesday riding class for over a year and she loves it.

“Being involved in RDA has given Mollyjane a new sense of confidence; she has learnt to ride her horse Dora, and always looks forward to Tuesdays. In fact we both look forward to Tuesdays, she is my little miracle girl and watching her with the freedom to ride Dora fills my heart with pride.”

“Mollyjane has become so confident on Dora she has been awarded the Rider of the Week award on three separate occasions and has participated in the Ride-a-thon, personally raising $170 to help RDA.”

Mollyjane Boyson was recently awarded the Pride of Australia, People’s Choice Award, is just one of thirty two children in the world who have Carnitine/Acylcarnitine Translocase Deficiency (CACT), a very rare disease that stops the break down of fats to energy. In fact, so little is know about CACT that doctors can’t determine why children die from it and when Mollyjane was born her doctors who didn’t think she would survive sent her home with her parents telling them to expect the worst.

However Mollyjane Boyson is a fighter, and teamed with the love of a family who will do anything for her and will never give up, Mollyjane is the longest surviving child with CACT and will celebrate her fifth birthday in January,

We’re pleased to support Riding for the Disabled because of the real difference they make to the lives of children and adults with disabilities in the region. The services they provide are incredibly popular and it is vital that the RDA continues enriching the fabric of the Hunter Valley community. We look forward to working with the RDA committee to raise the extra funds needed to switch over their lights to further improve the Centre’s financial and environmental sustainability.

You can help support the RDA by making a donation at your local branch or by opening a Community Reward Account and nominating RDA as the recipient.

To view photos from the event, visit our Facebook page.