By Paul Osborne

Sport England has donated £200,000 to six equestrian centres across the UK ©Toronto Star/Getty ImagesDisabled horse-riders across the United Kingdom are to benefit from a £200,000 ($336,220/€246,387) Sport England grant that will be shared between six equestrian centres.

Of the six centres, five are among the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) group, a charity that aims to provide therapy and enjoyment for people with disabilities through horse riding.

The latest round of Sport England Inspired Facilities Funding will see Friends of Landlord RDA Group in Wigan, Northern Racing College in Doncaster, Chiverton RDA Group in Truro, Tyne and Wear RDA Group in Tyne and Wear, Barrow Farm RDA Group in Chelmsford and Ferring Country Centre in Worthing all benefit from the grant.

The money will support the development of new arenas, improve training facilities and provide lighting, as well as helping the construction of mounting and dismounting areas for disabled people.

The Tyne and Wear RDA Group is set to update its stable facilities to deliver a wide range of horse care courses for centre users in a safer and more accessible environment, with the funds going a long way to benefit this cause.

"We are so grateful to Sport England for their support of our project, as we would not have been able to raise this level of funding on our own," said RDA volunteer Eileen Curley.

"We have always been dedicated to ensuring that all of our riders receive a high standard of professional tuition, tailored to their personal capabilities and to help them achieve their potential, however, many of our riders also want to understand how to care for the horses too.

"The upgraded stable block will provide a wider range of horse care courses in a safer and more accessible environment, primarily for the benefit of our RDA clients, and with the aim of moving the centre forward to a first class educational establishment."

It is hoped the Sport England funds will improve the facilities ©Boston Globe/Getty ImagesIt is hoped the Sport England funds will improve the facilities ©Boston Globe/Getty Images

RDA chief executive Ed Bracher added: "Demand for riding and carriage driving among people with disabilities far outstrips current capacity and each of the projects supported by Sport England will make a big difference for people in these communities across the country."

The British Equestrian Federation's legacy programme, Hoof, has been working in partnership with the RDA Group in recent years as the two look to increase the number of riding opportunities for disabled people through the development of the Accessibility Mark.

This project aims to provide training, assistance and accreditation to riding centres, schools and clubs to enable more disabled people to participate in horse riding activities.

The Sport England inspired Facilities Funding has already supported more than 1,300 projects that have improved and refurbished sports clubs and transformed non-sporting venues into modern grassroots sports facilities.

The next allocation of grants is due in September.

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