Charity rides high with Mercedes-Benz of Newbury support

Newbury Riding for the Disabled (RDA) is benefiting from horsepower of a different kind.

The charity, which is based at Hampstead Norreys, is being supported by Mercedes-Benz of Newbury as part of the motor retailer's community involvement.

Donations are being made from the proceeds of car sales, service bookings and parts sold, whilst staff are also being encouraged to volunteer their services to help with riding lessons, stable maintenance, administration or fund-raising. In addition, the London Road business is promoting Newbury RDA and the tie-up on one of its demonstrator vehicles - the V-Class was unveiled at the charity's recent autumn fayre.

Around 80 children per week, aged between six and 12 and drawn from three local special schools, are treated to the riding sessions, which provide considerable enjoyment but help with mobility and communication. There are some educational benefits too with some of the youngsters learning about stable management and receiving awards and certificates for their studies.

Staffed entirely by volunteers and totally self-funded, Jo Prater, Newbury RDA's Chairperson, said that the charity needed to raise at least £55,000 per year to remain operational.

"We have relied purely on goodwill donations from the public and the fund-raising of RDA volunteers and, whilst these remain vital sources, we are now looking to attract more funding, skills and expertise from the corporate sector," she said.

"It's fantastic to have such a prestige brand flying the flag for us and the team at Mercedes-Benz of Newbury really have gone way beyond what we could ever have expected - even donating plastic coffee mugs for the staff to use when they are out in the yard," added Jo. "We would love more companies like them to come onboard and whether they want to provide volunteers to help with the riding lessons or donate equipment or services, we will always be able to use their support - no matter how big or small."

Having attended some of the riding classes with colleagues, Wesley Cole, Head of Business at Mercedes-Benz of Newbury, was delighted to saddle up with the charity.

"The sterling work undertaken by Newbury RDA and its hard-working team of volunteers is fantastic and the enjoyment created for the children is plain to see," he said. "As well as making monetary donations, we will be supporting them with man hours too as being part of the Sytner Group, staff are actively encouraged to undertake volunteer work and receive time off in lieu from the company for this community participation."