The CLA Charitable Trust (CLACT) has awarded a grant to an innovative ‘Happiness Horsebox’ project in Thames Valley which helps those with restricted mobility connect with riding in the countryside.
The trust is funded almost entirely by subscriptions from members of the CLA, an organisation which represents nearly 30,000 farmers, landowners and rural businesses.
It provides grants to charities and community organisations across England and Wales who share its vision to help connect young people who are disabled or disadvantaged with the countryside.
One recent recipient is the Positive Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), which is based near Lambourn and covers a 50-mile radius.
It has been awarded £1,500 to help with its uniquely designed ‘Happiness Horsebox’. The box has a hydraulic lifting platform which enables users with restricted mobility to mount and be escorted for a gentle ride, as well as meet the horses in a safe space. CLACT has also helped cover the costs of fitting a toilet and small kitchen.
The not-for-profit service, which aims to start operating from Lambourn on the Ridgeway at Easter, was founded by Liz Morrison. She said: “When I first started coaching at RDA, I realised that the biggest reason that adults weren’t benefitting was because of the issue of getting them safely onto horses.
“As I developed my crazy dream of a mobile service using a hydraulic lifting platform, everyone said it was a good idea but there were plenty of issues to overcome.
“So many people can benefit from riding or simply being with horses following diagnoses such as stroke, Parkinson’s, sight loss, cancer, Alzheimer’s – horses are really important to many people.
“Now the first one is built and ready to go, my dream is to have a happiness horsebox in each region of the UK.
“This grant from the CLA Charitable Trust will help make a real difference.”
Bridget Biddell, Chairman of CLACT, said: “The trust’s board has recently welcomed three new trustees and we were all pleased to receive this application, and indeed delighted to be able to support it with a grant.
“The ‘Happiness Horsebox’ project really meets the aims of the trust, to help those who are disabled or disadvantaged to visit and participate in learning experiences about the countryside.
“This is an exciting time for the trust as it turns 40, and we welcome applications from a range of groups and organisations.”
Since its foundation in 1980, the trust has given £2million in grants to a wide variety of organisations and projects. If you would like to know more about applying for funding, or to donate, visit https://www.cla.org.uk/events/cla-charitable-trust
For more information about the charity and how to support it or book the horsebox, visit https://www.happinesshorsebox.co.uk/
Above: The Happiness Horsebox, complete with kitchen and toilet facilities as funded by the CLA Charitable Trust.