November saw the end of an era for Court Meadow Group RDA, which for 26 years has been holding weekly riding as therapy lessons at Ditchling Common Stud.
Unfortunately, due to the imminent development of land used by the Stud as part of the Kingsway housing development scheme, the Stud has been left with no choice but to close. As a result, over the past few months the local Riding for the Disabled Group has been urgently seeking a new base for its activities.
After an exhaustive search to find a new home which could offer the necessary facilities, and importantly be within easy travelling distance of Burgess Hill, agreement has been reached with the owners of Albourne Equestrian Centre.
From January 2014 those children with learning difficulties who are students at Woodland Mead School will be able to continue benefiting from their weekly riding sessions. The RDA Group are immensley grateful to Megan and Lester, owners of Albourne Equestrian Centre, for meeting their requirements.
The Court Meadow RDA Group was founded 36 years ago to provide riding as therapy for pupils of Court Meadow School, Cuckfield. The school has now been amalgamated with Newick House school within the new Woodlands Mead school Burgess Hill.
Some 60 students aged 2 – 19 years who have a wide spectrum of special needs and learning difficulties regularly benefit from their weekly riding lessons. Riding has been proven to encourage co-ordination, develop muscle strength and build self confidence and many of the Groups’ pupils have participated in national RDA events with considerable success and the value of the Groups work was recognised when receiving the Queens Golden Jubilee Award.
More than 40 volunteer ‘helpers’ give up their time not only to assist with the riding lessons but also with the fund raising necessary to keep the Group functioning. Some £15,000 per year is needed to meet all running costs.
Anna Kerr, chairman of the Court Meadow Group RDA would like to express her thanks to the Dudeny family, owners of Ditchling Common Stud, for their support. During the past three decades John Dudeney and his father before him had done everything possible to enable the smooth running of the childrens riding activities and the group is truly grateful.
.Please visit www.courtmeadow-rda.org.uk for more information about the group.