Get yourself active blog

Riding for the Disabled Association marks its 50th anniversary year with its 50 Faces campagin

Monday 7th January 2019

To celebrate its 50th anniversary year in 2019, Riding for the Disabled Association is marking the milestone through its 50 Faces campaign, telling the stories of some of the amazing people who make RDA the extraordinary organisation it is today.

Designed to challenge preconceptions about disability and volunteering, and to celebrate the diversity and inclusiveness of RDA, 50 Faces features a collage of portraits, as well as the surprising and often moving stories of horse riders, carriage drivers and volunteers from all over the UK.

“A 50th anniversary could be a time for looking back, but we wanted to celebrate where we are now, as leaders in disability sport, and also look to our future – helping even more disabled people to benefit from time with horses,” says Caroline Ward, Communications Manager at RDA UK. “50 Faces is an engaging and interactive way for people to find out more about what we do – and will hopefully inspire more people to get involved.”

Here we meet… Phoebe Boyce

Phoebe Boyce

Phoebe Boyce first experienced horse riding when she was eight-years-old before she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Due to her undiagnosed condition, Phoebe found new experiences difficult and felt misunderstood.

School was also challenging for Phoebe, who would often bottle up her feelings only for them to explode at home and as she is hyper-sensitive to noises and smells, her teachers found this difficult to understand.

Phoebe, from Derbyshire and her family, including mum Abi were hugely relived when she was finally diagnosed.

A few years later Phoebe began to think about horse riding once again and discovered RDA’s website when googling about horse riding for disabled people.

In April 2017, Phoebe started riding at Scropton RDA Group. Her first lesson was a group ride, where she was led by a volunteer so they could assess how capable she was.

Phoebe progressed really quickly and widened her knowledge by reading books and watching You Tube videos in her spare time away from the stables.

Phoebe (sat at the front of the wooden horse) and her friends from Scropton RDA

After a few months of riding, even though she is allergic to horses Phoebe joined the stable club and started volunteering on a Saturday morning, helping out with the other children and looking after the horses, which boosted her confidence and helped her make new friends.

She is now a member of the Scropton RDA Team and participates in showjumping and dressage, qualifying for the RDA National Championships in 2018, where she finished 7th in her showjumping category.

Phoebe said:

“The thing about RDA that makes me keep coming back is the feeling of a community and being a part of something. The staff and volunteers are all so kind and I love the thrill of horse riding and learning new things. Also, I have made lots of new friends.

“Being part of RDA helps me in other aspects of my life as it gives me something to look forward to during the week and I have gained so much confidence with meeting new people and being more independent.

“I feel I challenge misconceptions about disability because many people don’t realise I actually have a disability, as it’s invisible. RDA treat me the same as everyone else, I get the support and help I need to improve my riding and I feel included, unlike at other places where I feel like an outsider.

“Many people with autism find it hard to socialise, and although I also have these difficulties I still enjoy volunteering and meeting and helping all the riders.”

Phoebe’s mum, Abi is incredibly proud of her achievements:

“It is nice for Phoebe to do something independently without me around. When she started volunteering, I could drop her off and then come back later.

“To be able to leave her somewhere she is safe and happy is wonderful. She has made new friends and even researched and found the 50 Faces campaign herself and wanted to be included.”

You can read Phoebe’s story, and meet the other 49 Faces of RDA at www.rda.org.uk.

In other news: Horses are amazing animals that have the ability to make a real difference to people’s lives.

 

DR UK Chair of the Board of Trustees Martin Stevens awarded OBE in Queen’s New Year’s Honours list

Wednesday 2 January 2019

Martin Stevens has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for his services to people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Martin Stevens, 55, was diagnosed with MS in 1995 and has been supporting people with the condition and other disabilities for more than two decades. He began volunteering with the MS Society following his MS diagnosis, serving in various roles, including as chair of the Macclesfield group, and as a trustee until 2014.

Mr Stevens, who lives with his wife and two teenage children in Macclesfield, is currently a trustee at the MSIF, a global network of MS organisations. He is also Chair of the Board of Trustees at charity Disability Rights UK.

Mr Stevens said:

“To be appointed OBE is a fantastic and unexpected honour. Being diagnosed with MS in 1995 was a life changing event. For more than 20 years I have been able to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life for people affected by multiple sclerosis both here in the UK and across the world.

“More recently with Disability Rights UK, I have had the opportunity to work more widely on equal participation for all people affected by disabilities. Through this journey I have been privileged to work with dedicated teams and inspirational people.”

Patricia Gordon, Acting Chief Executive at the MS Society, said:

 “Martin has made an enormous contribution to the MS community and supported people with MS over many years, and I’m thrilled he’s been recognised in this way.

“More than 100,000 people in the UK are affected by MS, and through his experience living with the condition and his dedication as a volunteer and Trustee, Martin will have helped many of them.”

Peer Baneke, Chief Executive Officer of MSIF, said:

“Martin has contributed a great deal, both within the UK and at global level, drawing attention to issues that are crucial from the perspective of people with MS. Two issues have particularly benefited from Martin’s attention and advocacy. The first is how the quality of life of a person with MS is closely linked to that of their families, friends and loved ones. When one is affected, so is the other.

“The second issue Martin has driven forward is that every person with MS, wherever they live in the world, should have access to effective medicines, treatment and healthcare – an aim which the global MSIF movement is now actively pursuing.”

 Kamran Mallick, Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK, added:

 “We’re delighted that Martin has been recognised for his local, national and international work around disability and disability issues over the last 20 years.

“His commitment to disability rights, and vision for disabled people to be treated equally, has been a key element of his contribution to our work. We have really appreciated having his experience and passion to draw on during his time as a board member, and chair, of the organisation.”

In other news: Latest Active Lives Survey: Small gains yet somewhat significant ones

YouTube
Facebook
Google+
http://getyourselfactive.org/2019/01/