Bedfordshire horse riding school for the disabled fights for funds to secure its future

  • Watch as riding school participants tell ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper how the centre has changed their lives.

A decades-old riding school for the disabled is fighting to secure its future after the pandemic has left them low on funds and in need of more volunteers.

The Elisabeth Curtis Centre in Bromham, Bedfordshire, has been providing therapy through riding since 1975 and is supporting nearly 50 people at the moment.

There are another 50 on a waiting list.

Ayush Agarwal, 16, used to be scared of horses but now he looks forward to getting in the saddle every Saturday.

Babita Agarwal, Ayush's mum, said: "His physical strength, his ability to be able to sit upright, be able to concentrate, listen to the instructions - all those have come along."

Keeley White, 13, also said: "It feels great, it feels like you're in your happy zone."

Rachel White, Keeley's mum: "It's just brought her confidence way up, she's more sociable now, talking to anybody, she's made friends with people here as well."

The pandemic has left the riding school with a significantly reduced income, and the charity says it has used a lot of its reserves to keep the centre going.

Kyle Palmer, a coach and trustee at the centre said: "Horses can't go on furlough. We've got to keep going, we've got to feed and care for them, so our costs just keep going despite being closed.

"We need to think about how to fund this centre to sustain it but also grow it to help those people on the waiting lists and help do the other activities we want to do."

The centre has been fundraising through sales and a scheme where supporters can sponsor a stable.

It hopes that donations and more help through volunteers it can ensure it is still here to celebrate its 50th birthday in three years' time.