'Over the moon' - Riding for disabled centre gets vital funding boost

Volunteers at the Magpie Centre with horse Tonto.

Volunteers at the Magpie Centre with horse Tonto. - Credit: Magpie Centre

Volunteers at a Norfolk riding for the disabled centre are 'over the moon' after receiving a boost in funding to help with lessons for its riders.

The West Norfolk Riding for the Disabled Association (WNRDA) based at the Magpie Centre at Wallington Hall, near Downham Market, had been struggling during the pandemic and appealed for help with running costs and horse care last winter.

But riding lessons have since resumed at the centre with the start of the new school term, which helps generate income for the charity.

Aynsley Calvert taking Ava out for a hack in the grounds of Wallington Hall.

Aynsley Calvert taking Ava out for a hack in the grounds of Wallington Hall. - Credit: Magpie Centre

And funding for these lessons has now received a "huge boost" from the Central England Co-op community fund, with a grant of £3,700 that will help provide vital lessons for young people living with a range of physical and learning disabilities.

Caroline Dudley, who volunteers at the Magpie Centre, and shops at the Terrington St Clement Co-op store, said: "I picked up a leaflet about the fund, and mentioned it to our trustee who deals with grant applications.

"I never thought we’d have a chance, because we are right on the eastern edge of the Central Co-op area.

"Next thing I knew, we’d been awarded a grant to subsidise 200 lessons."

Joyce Walford, from Dove Court Care Home at Wisbech, met pony Roger at the Magpie Centre Open Day la

Joyce Walford, from Dove Court Care Home at Wisbech, met pony Roger at the Magpie Centre Open Day last year which gave dementia patients a chance to meet the horses. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019


You may also want to watch:


She added: "The benefits of riding, to people living with disabilities, is immense and range from the obvious physical ones to an improvement in communication skills and social confidence. I was over the moon."

The Magpie Centre sensory garden, which was officially opened in July by Princess Anne, also received a welcome boost after trustees Jan Calvert and Andy Beeston took part in the Grand East Anglia Run, raising more than £700 in sponsorships.

A second pilot session of Tea With a Pony took place earlier this month, which aims to attract people living with dementia and their carers, in order to give them the opportunity to socialise over tea and cake in the sensory garden and interact with some of the ponies. 

Another session will be held in October.

Most Read

For more information about the session, which costs £10 per participant, contact the centre on 01553 810202 or www.rda-westnorfolk.org.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter