Urgent appeal for help as RDA branch faces closure

  • A branch of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) could be forced to close after 30 years’ service if it cannot find a new home.

    The RDA Hollesley Group, in Suffolk, is in “desperate” need of new premises, as the lease on its current base, Pettistree Hall Farm, is due to expire.

    The group, which has been running since 1985 has launched an “urgent” appeal for help in finding a home by 9 August.

    Suzanne Pyne, of the board of trustees, said: “If we can’t find somewhere by 9 August then our riders, both children and adults with a range of physical and mental disabilities, will be left without access to a vital part of their therapy.

    “Our horses also face an uncertain future. This is heart-breaking for the parents, carers, supporters and volunteers.”

    A spokesman for the branch said Hollesley Group has provided hundreds of people with the chance to ride or take part in carriage driving, originally at Poplar Park, Hollesley, then for the last 22 years at Pettistree Hall Farm.

    The group has been looking for a suitable 15-acre site for the past year and although members have had discussions with potential landlords, “nothing concrete has come forwards and time is running out”.

    Ms Pyne said: “We may be facing homelessness but we are not helpless.

    More than 100 of our riders, supporters, volunteers, parents and carers came together for a group photograph, taken from above by a drone kindly donated by a local company.

    “We really wanted to demonstrate how many people this affects and how having this service makes such a tremendous difference to so many people’s lives, to touch the hearts and minds of those who might be able to help us. ”

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    Hannah Martin de la Torre, whose daughter Elise is one of the group’s regular riders, said: “This means so much to Elise and the other riders. Riding is so beneficial not only for Elise’s core strength but has added so much to her confidence”.

    Anyone interested in offering the RDA a new home is urged to email enquiries@rdahollesley.org.uk

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