A CHARITY which provides equestrian opportunities to people with special needs and disabilities has moved.

Morpeth Riding for the Disabled will now work out of Northumberland College Equestrian Centre at Kirkley Hall near Ponteland. Its former base was The Pegasus Centre in Tranwell. 

The move follows a period of discussion between Northumberland County Council, Morpeth RDA and Active Northumberland, with all parties keen to reassure parents, carers, schools, supporters and riders that the riding service will continue to be run as normal from its new base as the move supports the future growth ambitions of Morpeth RDA.

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The dedicated equestrian, educational centre at Kirkley Hall boasts two indoor arenas, one international standard, two outdoor arenas, a range of stabling and other associated facilities.

The county council has financed upgrades to the facility to ensure areas are accessible for disabled riders.

“The group has enjoyed 13 happy years at the Pegasus Centre, and we now look forward to the continued success and growth of Morpeth RDA in its new home", said Michelle Macaulay, chairman of Morpeth RDA. 

“The staff at Kirkley have extended a warm welcome to the group and the ponies are settling in well to their new surroundings.

“We’re extremely grateful to Michael and Daphne Jeans for allowing The Pegasus Centre to be the home of Morpeth RDA for the last 13 years and we appreciate the support we’ve had from Northumberland County Council and Active Northumberland during this time.”

More than 125 riders aged between 4 to 67 travel from all over the county and beyond to attend riding lessons, which encourage co-ordination, develop muscle strength and build self-confidence. Many of the group’s riders have participated in national RDA events.

Northumberland County Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, added: “The move will enable the current service to grow and will pave the way for greater opportunities for the development of disability riding, coaching and teaching. 

"We wish the team and Morpeth RDA well in their new home.”

Active Northumberland has been managing the Pegasus Centre, which will continue to operate as a private livery yard, on behalf of the county council.