East Liverpool Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)

"It's what you CAN do that counts! East Liverpool RDA offers adults and children who are living with disabilities the opportunity to ride and spend time with horses to improve their health and wellbeing. 1. Our History East Liverpool Riding for the Disabled Association (East Liverpool RDA) was founded in 2017 by a group of dedicated volunteers who recognised that the need for the provision of Riding for the Disabled services for adults and children in Merseyside were not being met. The group outgrew their original base from a riding school and moved to purpose-built facilities at Riders Croft in 2019. The facilities include an outdoor arena, stable block and 6 acres of grazing. A small staff team was employed from 2022 to include one full-time and two part time grooms. East Liverpool RDA is a registered charity (1175033) based in Rainhill, Merseyside and is a member group of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDAUK). RDAUK provide support and guidance, policies and procedures, volunteer training (to include coaching and safeguarding) with which East Liverpool RDA is fully compliant. East Liverpool RDA is an independent charity and does not receive any government or statuary funding. It is entirely responsible for its own fundraising to ensure our services are accessible to those who need them regardless of any financial barriers. 2. The Need East Liverpool RDA is situated in Rainhill in Merseyside. Merseyside has high levels of poverty, deprivation, and crime. East Liverpool RDA has a waiting list of over 100 people living with disabilities who are desperate to access our services. All of our 84 participants live with a disability, physical and/or learning difficulty. Before the covid pandemic, studies suggested that 1 in 5 people in the UK are living with a disability. The impact of the pandemic has been disproportionately difficult for our families. During the pandemic, our riders struggled with a loss of routine, missed their regular contact with the ponies and trusted volunteers with many losing physical fitness and self-confidence. We are now seeing improvements in our rider’s physical fitness and confidence, along with reduced anxiety as we return to pre covid levels of activity. 3. Activities East Liverpool RDA is an idyllic rural haven situated just outside the village of Rainhill in Merseyside. It is a much loved and valued part of the wider community to include the boroughs of Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, Warrington, Widnes, St Helens and Halton. East Liverpool RDA offers a wide range of activities with a horse or pony at the heart of each activity. RDA horses and ponies are carefully selected for a gentle temperament and take part in on-going, extensive training. Children and adults living with disabilities often have difficulty establishing relationships and are uncomfortable with social interaction with people but will develop a close bond with a pony. Naturally curious, horses and ponies are totally non-judgemental, seeing through a disability to the person within. East Liverpool RDA has 7 ponies who can work with Children and Adults up to 12 stone. Our volunteers have extensive training to support our riders, and many volunteers become part of our families trusted support network. Group riding lessons and 1:1 sessions The timetable has a mix of 1:1 and small group riding lessons. Riding strengthens core muscles, improves balance, posture, co-ordination, confidence, health and wellbeing whilst providing fun and therapy. Stable management and Horse Care This unmounted activity for riders and volunteers helps to develop empathy as well as practical skills and knowledge which can improve their employment prospects. Veterinary students join us for practical experience in animal care as part of their training. The ReBoot programme Designed by our group chair/founder, Natalie, an ex-policewoman, working in partnership with Merseyside Police. This programme gives young people who are at risk of offending or those victims of county lines crime a positive experience in an environment they can show true personality and engage in a non-judgmental, no pressure environment. Local special education needs schools join us for alternate sport provision activities. PTSD programme piloted last year for ex-service men and women living with PTSD to have the benefits of spending time with horses. Tea with a Pony for people living with dementia and other disabilities. People living with dementia and other disabilities join us with their families for tea and cakes to spend time watching a riding lesson. They spend time grooming or stroking the ponies in a safe and supportive environment. Memories are revisited from times with ponies in the past and new experiences shared with loved ones. A simple and very powerful activity that has helped people reconnect with loved ones. Holiday activities Accessing activities during the school holidays can be very difficult for families with disabled children. East Liverpool RDA runs several Own a Pony Days. Riders learn about the care of the ponies, groom, tack their pony up, have a riding lesson as well as creative arts and crafts sessions. These activities are always oversubscribed. The activities are accessible to all ages and disabilities. 4. Volunteers and volunteering Volunteers also gain benefits from their time with us by building confidence, a self of fulfilment, forging new friendships, learning transferable, new skills and physical fitness. Many volunteers will also enjoy supporting administration, social media and fundraising. Six of our riders now volunteer with us. By giving their time, they are improving their potential for securing employment by learning new skills and teamwork in a very supportive environment. All our volunteers are DBS checked and have safeguarding training which is refreshed every 3 years. Online training courses run through RDAUK together with other regular training “on the floor” are open to all volunteers wishing to expand their knowledge and skills. Those wishing to coach are fully supported by mentors and extensive training through the RDAUK coaching pathway.


Riders Croft St Helens, L35 6NW 07979690158

Areas Of Work
Arts, culture, sport and recreation, Education and research, Employment and training, Health

Groups worked with
Black and minority ethnic people, Carers, Children (0 -12), Disabled people, Families / single parents, Looked after children, Men, Older people (over 65 years of age), People with learning disabilities, People with mental health problems, Service and ex-service people, Women, Young people (aged 13-25)

Areas worked in
Greater Merseyside, Halton - Runcorn, Halton - Widnes, Halton Wide, St Helens - Central Area – Parr, St Helens - Central Area – Town Centre, St Helens - East Area A – Earlestown, St Helens - East Area A – Newton-le-Willows, St Helens - East Area B – Blackbrook, St Helens - East Area B – Haydock, St Helens - North Area A – Moss Bank, St Helens - North Area A – Rainford, St Helens - North Area B – Eccleston, St Helens - North Area B – West Park, St Helens - North Area B – Windle, St Helens - South Area A – Sutton, St Helens - South Area A – Thatto Heath, St Helens - South Area B – Bold, St Helens - South Area B – Rainhill, St Helens Wide