Since Court Meadow RDA group’s move to Albourne Equestrian Centre, following the closure of Ditchling Stud, the Sussex group has continued with all its usual activities, working primarily with pupils with moderate to severe learning difficulties from Woodlands Meed School.
Recently riders from the group took part in a Regional Dressage event at Hickstead showground, competing in a led junior dressage class, where Lottie Virgo was second and Charlotte Harvey was fifth against strong competition. Another eight pupils from the school entered an Arts and Crafts competition at Hickstead and in various categories,seven won and another pupil was second.
Fund raising is always an issue with any RDA Group and Court Meadow is no exception – at least £12,000 has to be raised annually to maintain the present level of experience and instruction for the many pupils who come to the sessions each week. This is raised through donations, but often mainly through the efforts of the trustees and members – all of whom are volunteers. Most are also involved with helping with the ponies and pupils at the weekly sessions.
Parents of these pupils are extremely grateful to the Group and also very proud of the achievements of their children. One set of parents, Chris and Jane Goldthorpe, have a son Ben who has been with the group for many years. His parents recently presented the group with a cheque for £3,208, raised at an event held by Accord at the Metropole Hotel in Brighton last March.
Chris Goldthorpe is President of Accord (a banking sector union) and a raffle at the dinner raised half this amount, but was matched by Accord itself to make the final total. Instructors from Court Meadow Group gave an audio visual presentation at a previous conference, explaining the aims of Court Meadow and how pupils benefit in many ways from weekly sessions, which are not just about learning to ride.
The group is also very grateful for a donation of £500 made by Lloyds and also a very generous donation of £2,233 from another raffle held at Cumnor House School recently. Funds have also been boosted by the Sussex Community Trust which added another £1,500 , This is a great boost but another £4,500 is still needed to continue the good work this year.
One other way the Group raises funds – albeit in a small way, but in an eco friendly one – is by collecting clean milk bottle tops to be recycled. A company turns them into more milk tops or into plastic toys and makes a donation to charities such as RDA . It takes a lot of tops to raise a small amount of money but every little helps.
The group has thanked members and their families, the community of Wivelsfield Green, the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and various local branches of Café Nero who make regular donations of milk bottle tops. If you want to join in with this worthwhile recycling fund raiser please ring Sue Welch on 01444 471336 for details.