£5,000 boost for more horse play

April 14th, 2016

A riding centre for the disabled is set to go on providing therapy, fun and achievement to Teessiders after receiving a £5,000 boost from the Philanthropic Foundation.

The Unicorn Centre, a purpose-built Riding for the Disabled facility in Hemlington, Middlesbrough, received the big cash boost after topping the Foundation’s latest Golden Giveaway poll ahead of 14 other Teesside groups, who each received between £500 and £2,500.

Set up almost 20 years ago, the centre provides riding therapy sessions to more than 200 Teesside children and adults with a range of disabilities – but the indoor arena is in urgent need of new flooring, which is likely to cost around £15,000.

Centre manager Claire Pitt said: “Riding is an amazing form of therapy for those with disabilities but it also helps them with confidence, self-esteem, coordination and balance. It offers them some real excitement, as well as a great form of empowerment for those who spend much of their lives in wheelchairs.

“Working at the centre is the most humbling and special experience. We have so many amazing participants and wonderful volunteers, as well as a small but very dedicated team of staff.

“But the surface in the arena has come to the end of its life and we desperately need to resurface it this summer. So we’re absolutely delighted to have received £5,000 from the Foundation and its brilliant patrons. This kick-starts out fundraising campaign, as it will make it so much easier to apply for grants to help us reach our target.”

The £5,000 cheque was presented to Claire by Sue Theobald of Foundation patrons Barclays Middlesbrough at a presentation event at the Riverside Stadium, while Sue was joined by charity trustee Emily Bentley of patrons Evolution Business and Tax Advisors on a visit to meet some of the children – and horses! – at the Unicorn Centre.

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