A community riding centre faced with eviction has taken a major step forward to secure its home as fundraising efforts ramp up.
Park Lane Stables in Teddington, southwest London, is aiming to raise £1m to buy its home as the landlord wants to sell.
The site has now been listed as an asset of community value (ACV), which is a significant step towards securing its future in London.
“ACV status is really important as it really strengthens our cause,” centre manager Natalie O’Rourke told H&H.
“It buys us some time as it means that we have the right to bid and that the landlord cannot sell it to another person without first offering it to us to buy.”
The stables, which is a registered charity, serves the community as a Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and Pony Club centre, and is a safe haven for children who can be referred there by the local authority and schools. As well as offering riding lessons, Park Lane Stables also welcomes those who benefit from spending time with horses on the ground.
Staff and ponies from the stable have been cheering the local community through the lockdowns by letting people know what time they will be exercising the horses, so they can come to their windows to wave.
The stables, whose history dates back hundreds of years, was put forward for ACV status to Richmond Council by local community group, the Teddington Society.
Natalie said the fact the society took the time to do that on their behalf “really makes us feel we are part of the community”.
“The donations and comments make us feel so supported and realise how important the horses are to everybody,” said Natalie.
“We’ve had people reach out to us who used to come here in the 1950s and 1960s as well as people whose lives have been touched [by the horses here]. It’s really strengthening; it’s like scaffolding around us to keep going when we hear all the kind words people say about the horses.”
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The charity has raised 15% of its target, with funds currently standing at just over £159,000, and Natalie added they are pushing hard to keep the momentum going to secure the remaining 85% ahead of the February Crowdfunder deadline.
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