Berkeley Riding for the Disabled helps people between 15 and 60 with challenges such as a learning disability, autism, Down’s syndrome or genetic disorders by providing riding lessons every week at Tumpy Green. The riders are put into groups according to their ability: Riding session 1 is comprised of riders who are capable of independent riding, work towards Dressage Tests, and Countryside Challenge Competitions at Regional level. Riding sessions 2 and 3 are aimed more at Therapeutic riding to improve balance, muscle tone and co-ordination. Each group is a charity in itself and has to raise the money for purchase special reins, stirrups, riding helmets and other specialised equipment. All the groups are run entirely by volunteers, some of whom have over 35 years’ experience which enables them to constantly review methods and skills to give participants the best experience of riding that they can offer. They encourage gentle competition with Proficiency tests in Riding and Horse Care which results in rosettes, certificates and lots of smiles.
The Lodge of Grace heard that Berkeley Riding for the Disabled was facing difficult financial problems after Covid so were delighted to be able to step in and support such a great cause. Our photograph shows Chris Riley, Charity Steward for The Lodge of Grace, presenting a cheque for £362 to Sue Barney.
Chris tells us: “The Lodge gives what it collects at each monthly meeting to many fantastic local charities. I have especially enjoyed visiting Berkeley Riding for the Disabled which brings so much joy to those who could do with a little extra. Freemasonry has been supporting local communities in Gloucestershire for well over 300 years and will continue to do so. “
Sue pointed out “This donation from the Lodge of Grace in Wotton arrived just at the right moment as a change in regulations meant that we needed to replace all our riding helmets. We’re therefore very grateful to Chris and the Lodge.”