Forbes RDA calls for volunteers as work on new centre begins

Lisa Loanes, Council General Manager Steve Loanes, Helen Dumbrell RDA Committee, Phyllis Miller Mayor, Deb Roylance RDA Committee, Laurie Norris, Forbes Citizen of the Year and RDA Committee, Chelsie Farmer, John Zannes, RDA Secretary and Vice President, Chris Roylance, Deputy Mayor and President RDA.
Lisa Loanes, Council General Manager Steve Loanes, Helen Dumbrell RDA Committee, Phyllis Miller Mayor, Deb Roylance RDA Committee, Laurie Norris, Forbes Citizen of the Year and RDA Committee, Chelsie Farmer, John Zannes, RDA Secretary and Vice President, Chris Roylance, Deputy Mayor and President RDA.

Work on a new home for the Forbes Riding for Disabled Association is under way, and the committee is calling for volunteers as they plan to welcome riders again.

Forbes RDA Centre has been in recess, but is ready to relocate to the Forbes Livestock Exchange thanks to the generosity of the Forbes Shire Council who have provided land for the new Centre.

Earthworks will begin shortly to clear, level the land and prepare the base for the arena, followed by fencing the arena and a paddock for the horses.

A lot of infrastructure is required and to a standard of RDA requirements.

"We are very fortunate to have gained the assistance of Mr Tommy Boyle as our Project Officer," RDA committee member Deb Roylance says.

"Tommy has started the ball rolling already with earthworks starting this week.

"If all goes to plan we hope to start up the centre during Term 2 or beginning of Term 3."

The group's AGM is next Monday, and they would love more people to come on board.

The group is seeking more helpers: they need a volunteer coordinator, horse manager and volunteers for activities like care of horses, leading horses or assisting riders - each mounted rider requires two assistants.

Volunteers are needed to help with activities for unmounted riders, training horses and ponies, assisting the coach and fundraising.

Helen Morris, one of Forbes RDA's founders and a coach, said riding helps with confidence, fitness and core strength.

The riders love it, and they bond with their ponies - who adapt for their young friends.

"Riding Develops Abilities" in the way of improving balance and posture, promoting decision making and thinking ahead, encourages reading and speech through games, develops eye - hand co-ordination just to mention a few of the benefits.

Sally Buttriss, who has volunteered with RDA in Forbes before, says it's a richly rewarding experience.

"I cannot stress highly enough how much the community needs this," she said, paying heartfelt tribute to those who have established the centre and worked to keep it alive through COVID.

"I have always had horses but when I started with RDA I saw things I had never seen before."

Sally has watched horses break down the barriers for children with special needs.

She has seen those children connect with the horses, smile, and laugh, grow in confidence and gain a sense of belonging to the RDA family.

There are many ways community members can help, and they all add up to making a real difference in a child's life.

"It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life," Sally said.

"I wish every human being could experience the benefits. The (children) feel free. They feel safe. The horses do that."

Mrs Roylance said RDA Forbes would welcome any form of assistance from the community in the form of manpower, donations or materials.

"RDA is a charity organisation and relies on volunteers to operate the centre," she said.

"We are excited to get going again and have so much interest from children from local and out of town schools."

The nearest RDA centre is Young: unfortunately centres are folding due to lack of volunteers and funding.

If anyone can offer to volunteer their services with the infrastructure of the new Centre or on RDA days, at this stage Wednesday afternoons, please email: forbes@rdansw.org.au or ring 0438 514 472.

The group's AGM is on Monday March 28 at the Forbes Council Chambers at 7.30 pm.

All committee positions are vacant, and all are welcome.