A HORSE riding charity has broken ground on its new national training centre in south Warwickshire.
Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is aiming to open the centre at Lowlands Farm in Shrewley next spring.
The farm was already an RDA centre, which was run by supporter Ro Pudden for some 30 years, but when she announced her retirement the charity bought the land.
Plans were then submitted for a dedicated centre to train volunteers and coaches from across the country at Shrewley, which will also become the new headquarters for the charity.
It will provide volunteer training to enable the charity to continue its work providing therapy horses to some 25,000 disabled children and adults at 500 riding and carriage driving groups.
The four RDA groups which currently use Lowlands will also continue to use the centre – providing sessions to some 90 people a week.
Project chairman Patrick Riley said: “After months of planning, it is fantastic to have reached this milestone.
“Getting to this point has been a real team effort and we have received so much support from the local community.”
The on-site equestrian facilities are being revamped and extended to provide 20 stables, an indoor and outdoor riding area and a new building to include office space and training rooms. More car parking spaces are also being made available.
But fund-raising for the project is on-going.
Since plans were unveiled last year the charity has been aiming to raise nearly £1million.
One of its most recent donations was a £37,000 grant from grant-giving charity Allchurches Trust.
Mr Riley added: “We have been delighted by the response to our appeal.
“RDA has been changing lives through horses for almost 50 years and donating to this project is a great way to recognise this remarkable achievement.”
Call the RDA on 01926 405975 or email [email protected] to donate or offer equipment or expertise.