NZCT awarded Totara Park Riding for the Disabled $3,000 to hire a new Group Coach. An important grant for the club, says Funding Officer Diana Knight. “We must adhere to the strict guidelines of our governing body, NZRDA. If there is no Group Coach on site, no RDA sessions can take place. We are glad that NZCT recognises the valuable service we offer to our community.”
Totara Park Riding for the Disabled offers therapeutic horse riding programmes. They want to develop ability, independence and self-worth for children and adults who have a disability.
Diana Knight: “We currently have only four volunteer coaches. One of them is retiring and another relocating. Outside of riding days, volunteers invest many extra hours in the club. They are planning rider’s goals, organising activities and attending trainings and seminars. Financial pressure and longer work hours have a large impact on volunteering. It is difficult to get anyone willing to put in all the hours on a daily basis in a voluntary capacity. So it has become necessary to offer paid employment to secure a dedicated coach.”
Diana Knight says the new Group Coach has several responsibilities. "The Group Coach designs an individual programme for each rider with a specific set of goals. She is taking their abilities, needs and personal goals into account. This ensures we can offer every rider the opportunity to achieve their maximum ability."
The Group Coach is also responsible for the health and safety of all RDA personnel, riders, horses and visitors. Experienced volunteers of the club will train and support the new Group Coach first. Diana Knight: "Totara Park Riding for the Disabled is a not-for-profit organisation. We receive no government funding. The costs of caring for our eight horses are very high. We are charging the minimal riding fees to cover a small part. Therefore we rely heavily on grants from organisations such as NZCT to continue our valuable work."