The world’s first riding school for disabled people, based in Chigwell, is on the hunt for new volunteers.

The Chigwell Riding Trust, which will celebrate its 50th birthday next year, provides a centre for disabled children to build confidence, learn to ride and even work towards taking their first steps.

Despite the mammoth task of raising every penny by themselves, the charity caters for as many as 160 riders every week.

Although they do not receive any subsidies, race nights, art and craft fairs and even the occasional barn dance, organised by volunteers, helps to ensure that the charity can continue to provide a safe and friendly facility for its users.

Disabled riders, aged as young as two, travel from across the district, and as far as away as Islington, to make the most of the riding school.

Manager Deborah Hall says that the riding centre not only provides vital support for disabled people, but the district as a whole, as they offer volunteering opportunities for people of all ages, whether they are experienced riders or not.

She said: “Horse riding does wonders for the self esteem of all of the people who come here.

“When a child is sitting on a horse the movement helps the pelvis and increases balance and co-ordination, which is needed for them to learn to walk.

“We have had one volunteer for 40 years – but we desperately need some more during the week.”

Anybody wishing to take up the opportunity to volunteer with the charity should call the riding centre on 020 8500 6051.

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