Horse riding sessions for hundreds of disabled people at a Leeds centre are under threat due to a lack of volunteers.
Several Riding for the Disabled (RDA) sessions at Middleton Park Equestrian Centre, in Middleton Grove, Leeds, have had to be cancelled in recent weeks due to a fall in volunteers.
The riding school has had a strong RDA element for more than 20 years, currently providing around 250 disabled people in the region with subsidised horse riding lessons.
The RDA lessons, which run seven days a week, can be used to benefit people with conditions ranging from mild learning difficulties to severe mental and physical disabilities.
The centre’s RDA co-ordinator Cathy Cook said: “If we don’t have enough volunteers in to run a session we do have to cancel that session.
“Riders have even got here and we have had to turn them away as we have not had the manpower to do it.”
The 37-year-old said there are currently around 20 volunteers, who work varying times at the centre, but to run group sessions up to 10 people including a qualified instructor are needed to lead horses and to help riders all at once.
Adele Smith, centre manager at Middleton Park, said: “Groups are getting bigger and we are struggling to get enough leaders together.
“We have a nice friendly atmosphere and volunteering is a good way of socialising to meet other people and it looks great on your CV.”
Ginny Greenwood’s 32-year-old daughter Jemma has been taking part in RDA sessions at the centre for six years and has been volunteering there for two years.
The 60-year-old, from Ossett, whose daughter has a congenital heart condition that makes it hard for her to exercise, said: “She (Jemma) does enjoy it, it makes her feel included, it gives her a focus and it also gives a person some value to feel they are helping.
“It’s very worthwhile when you see the appreciation on the people’s faces.”
Middleton Park Equestrian Centre has 24 horses, 10 acres of grassland and two indoor arenas.
Anyone who wants to get involved will be fully trained by the centre’s staff and can work as many regular hours as they want.
Call 0113 2771962 or email: email@example.com for details.