RDA needs a new home

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Rid­ing for the Dis­abled has a new arena, a large num­ber of avail­able and will­ing vol­un­teers and a big wait­ing list – but it doesn’t have a lease.

The Welling­ton branch of the or­gan­i­sa­tion has been based in the grounds of the old Porirua Hos­pi­tal since 1985 but must now move on.

Clients have dis­abil­i­ties in­clud­ing epilepsy, Down syn­drome and autism, with rid­ing ther­apy con­tribut­ing to­wards build­ing con­fi­dence, co­or­di­na­tion and mus­cle strength.

There are more than 50 vol­un­teers in­volved in the Porirua op­er­a­tion, and 54 clients visit ev­ery week, with an­other 30 on a wait­ing list.

The two plots of land, rented by the Welling­ton Rid­ing for the Dis­abled As­so­ci­a­tion (RDA) for a ‘‘pep­per­corn’’ rate of $1 a month, was sold by Cap­i­tal & Coast District Health Board ear­lier this year.

One plot, mostly used for graz­ing horses, must be va­cated by De­cem­ber 31. The other, which has the arena, of­fice and hay­barn on it, must be va­cated by June 31, 2011.

Re­signed to mov­ing on, RDA is seek­ing an­other lo­ca­tion, prefer­ably in Porirua to pro­vide con­sis­tency for its clients, says vicepres­i­dent Donna Kennedy.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion had ‘‘ as­sumed the land would be ours and we could ne­go­ti­ate with the new own­ers’’, but this had not been the case.

‘‘We’re look­ing at places we can go, but it’s at the very early stages yet. We need good, flat land for an arena, clu­b­rooms and graz­ing, about 15 or 20 acres [ six to eight hectares]. We’re look­ing at hav­ing to pay com­mer­cial leases, too. We’ve had it pretty good up till now.’’

Vol­un­teer Jane Weggery says it will be an ‘‘ab­so­lute tragedy’’ if the ser­vice closes. ‘‘ A lot of peo­ple will be de­nied a great op­por­tu­nity. This is a place where magic hap­pens.’’

Cap­i­tal & Coast’s di­rec­tor of change, Luke Worth, ac­knowl­edges the long re­la­tion­ship with RDA and the ser­vice it pro­vides.

He says the DHB is ‘‘com­mit­ted’’ to help­ing it find a new home.

Ms Kennedy can be con­tacted on 027 235 8702.

Time to move: Welling­ton Rid­ing for the Dis­abled op­er­a­tions man­ager Toni Gray, left, with Carrot, and vol­un­teer Jane Weggery, with Bilbo. The or­gan­i­sa­tion is desperately search­ing for a new home in Porirua.

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