Last week I visited the Arrow Riding Centre in Dartford which provides horse riding therapy for children with disabilities.
As always it is fantastic to see the amazing work this non-profit organisation does. Led by Val and Ken Blake, the centre which started in 1982, has 55 volunteers who help provide lessons for therapy, look after the horses and ponies, help with training, development and land maintenance as well as fundraising.
At the moment the centre caters for 140 regular riders who each have a specially formulated therapy programme to help their individual needs. People from throughout the South East are able to utilise the therapies provided by the variety of horses and ponies who work with the riders.
During last week’s visit, I met one of the newest therapy horses at the centre – a mechanical horse simulator named Jeremy.
This simulator, named after Dartford Borough Council’s leader Jeremy Kite in recognition for his support for Arrow over the years, provides riders with a different experience from real horses.
It is assisting people experience their first trots and canters as well as helping to reduce the waiting list for those who would like to have therapy at the centre.
It is great to see that the simulator is proving very popular with the riders.
Arrow Riding Centre is just one of the many charities we have here in Dartford, providing a vital support to the people who need it. From Age UK North West Kent, a charity working with and for older people to North Kent Mind, which provides services for people experiencing Mental Health problems, these are just a few of the many charities in Dartford which are making a real difference in our community.
This Christmas, charities throughout the town will be helping people with different needs and I am very proud of those people who give up their time to volunteer and help other people.