Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things 

Doug Smith - ordinary people doing extraordinary things

Volunteers are at the very heart of the success of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), and are the glue that binds every aspect of the charity together.

Every year, Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7) provides a chance to celebrate the amazing contribution that is made by ordinary people from every walk of life who give up their valuable time to benefit others.

But, as a recent RDA report found, volunteering doesn’t just benefit the participants but has a huge role to play in tackling loneliness and mental health, helping people gain more perspective and become less inward focused.

Meet the 50 Faces Breaking Down Barriers

RDA 50 Faces Campaign

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is celebrating 50 years of achievement, therapy and fun through horses with a stunning online collection of portraits and stories from all over the UK. 

Designed to challenge preconceptions about disability, volunteering and the world of horses, 50 faces is a celebration of the brilliant, fearless and pioneering people who make up the RDA family.

Right from the start, RDA has helped to open up the world of horses to everyone. The charity’s radical mission in 1969 that ‘no disabled person who could benefit from riding shall be denied the opportunity of doing so’ was the start of a quiet revolution that is still breaking down barriers today. 

Stairlift donations to transform palliative care

Acorn Stairlift

Acorn Stairlifts has announced plans to raise £20,00 for Marie Curie to fund 1,000 hours of care from its specially trained nurses.  

Continuing the partnership between UK-based stairlift manufacturer and Marie Curie, £10 will be donated to the charity for every stairlift installed before 9thJune. 

Acorn Stairlifts already installs up to 60 free stairlifts each year to Marie Curie patients, helping support people living with terminal illness by giving them the freedom to be cared for at home. 

Caren Larkman-Ayre, national sales manager at Acorn Stairlifts, said: “We’re very proud to be supporting Marie Curie, a charity that does amazing work caring for people during exceptionally difficult times.

Ten ways to make a meeting more inclusive

A group of people in a meeting at work, one of them is in a wheelchair

To mark the launch of its new guide, Meetings Matter, Business Disability Forum is offering advice to all businesses on how to make meetings and events more accessible for disabled employees and clients.

The 10-point meeting checklist is adapted from the not-for-profit membership organisation’s new 24-page guide. The practical and up-to-date resource provides advice on arranging meetings which meet the needs of all colleague and attendees.

The guide covers all aspects of organising a meeting, from set up to on the day, and follow up arrangements. It also reflects the fact that more and more people are now using technology to enable them to take part in meetings and events remotely and from anywhere in the World.  

10-point meeting checklist

Tapping into the Therapeutic Benefits of Riding

Two horses ready for riding

Tapping into the Therapeutic Benefits of Riding with Accessibility Mark

Barnfields Riding Stables based in Chingford, London is looking forward to welcoming more disabled riders to take to the saddle, thanks to Accessibility Mark.

Located near the popular horse riding locations of High Beach and Epping Forest, Barnfields Stables offer lessons to riders of all abilities but specialise in novice and nervous riders.

Owner Natasha Burke decided to apply for accreditation after finding details of the joint scheme between the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and the British Equestrian Federation online.

Accessibility Mark aims to provide riding schools with the knowledge to confidently deliver sessions to disabled riders.

Princess Anne Launches 50th Anniversary Tartan for Riding for the Disabled Association

Princess Anne Launching 50th Anniversary Tartan for Riding for the Disabled Association

HRH Princess Anne Launches 50th Anniversary Tartan for Riding for the Disabled Association in Scotland

A new tartan has been produced by Lachcarron of Scotland in celebration of 50 years of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) providing therapy through horses.

The tartan was launched at an anniversary event in Edinburgh by RDA President, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal. The Princess met with volunteers and participants from around the country and was presented with her very own RDA tartan scarf by brothers Andrew and William McLeod.

Blenheim Joins Forces With Farming Charity

Blenheim Staff with Farming Charity staff

Blenheim is working with an Oxfordshire-based farming charity to host working visits for people with learning disabilities and autism.

A team of co-farmers from FarmAbility will be making regular visits to the Blenheim Estate to assist in a variety of hands-on animal and land-based activities.

The initiative is part of a series of community-based charitable programmes supported by Blenheim as part of its goal to double its charitable contributions within a decade.

FarmAbility is a farm-based programme for co-farmers, who are people over the age of 16 with learning disabilities and often also with autistic spectrum disorder.

WashPod Set To Transform Washroom Access For Disabled

WashPod Washroom

For the elderly or disabled, being able to live in their own home becomes a real issue if they no longer have access to washing and toilet facilities but a unique, new ‘pod’ that can be erected inside or outside, may keep this the reality. WashPod units can be installed in as little as a day to provide a fully accessible washroom for those who have become disabled suddenly or through old age.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of over 65s is set to grow by 65% over the next couple of decades, while currently SCOPE estimates that there are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK and 45% of pension age adults and nearly 10% of children are disabled.

Student nurses attempt Guinness World Record

Student nurses attempting Guinness World Record

Over 500 student nurses, academics, healthcare professionals and people with learning disabilities, as well as their family and friends, gathered in Birmingham on Friday 26 April to attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the most people in one room simultaneously signing ‘Hello my name is’ using Makaton.

The #HelloMyNameIs campaign calls for more compassionate care by highlighting the importance of seeing a patient as a person and putting them at the heart of decision making.

London transport nightmare

London transport

London transport nightmare – New travel experiment reveals dire commutes for wheelchair users. London wheelchair users’ commutes take 49% longer than an able-bodied person’s on average

A shocking 71% of London tube stations NOT fully accessible

Disabled public transport users don’t feel that official apps or planners cater to their individual needs

Glendurgan Garden to improve accessibility for visitors

Man in mobility scooter in Glendurgan Garden

Glendurgan Garden, a National Trust property near Falmouth, recently introduced a brand new all-terrain mobility scooter, to help improve access for visitors.  

The all-terrain mobility scooter, known as a ‘Tramper’, allows visitors with mobility limitations to explore the Cornish gardens more fully, as well as visiting areas previously viewed as too difficult for them to access. 

Trampers are specifically designed to travel easily over uneven ground; allowing them to go up and down slopes, over bumps and tree roots, as well as through shallow puddles and mud.  

Cornish heritage attractions embrace British Sign Language

Women with heritage ability bags

Cornish heritage attractions embrace British Sign Language In celebration of Deaf Awareness week, three local Cornish heritage attractions have introduced brand new guided tours aimed at attracting more visitors from the Deaf Community. The new British Sign Language (BSL) guides aim to help Deaf BSL users gain a better understanding of the history of each of the sites and get more from their visit.

People with mental health conditions waiting too long for workplace support

Woman suffering with bad mental health

Findings reveal people with mental health conditions waiting too long for workplace support

Some people with mental health conditions could be waiting for over a year for employers to put in place much needed workplace adjustments, new findings published today show. 

The findings come from The Great Big Workplace Adjustments Survey 2019, a comprehensive study of disability and long-term conditions conducted by Business Disability Forum and based on the views of over 1,200 employees and managers working with adjustments.

The new findings announced today relate specifically to the experiences of the 385 respondents with mental health conditions and/or workplace stress who took part in the study. 

The responses show the following: