A massive fundraising effort has paid off for one of the oldest equestrian centres in London that was facing closure.
Park Lane Stables has a long history, dating back to 1830, when it was the home of Teddington Fire Station and was surrounded by grazing and farmland. The stables, which offer horse riding lessons and therapy services, had to raise £1 million ($US1.4m, $NZ1.9m) to buy the stables and keep the business running after its landlord decided to sell.
As with many riding establishments the pandemic has placed immense pressure on Park Lane Stables as they have not been able to generate the revenue they need. In addition to day-to-day running costs to keep their horses, they needed to raise the funds by the end of February to buy the stables as the lease was not available for renewal.
Staff worked hard to raise money through crowdfunding and following television appeals last week, reached the target.
But as a small charity, Park Lane still needs help to support their ongoing work and secure their future for the long term, leading British feed manufacturer Spillers to step in with a £2000 donation to bolster the funds. Spillers Marketing and Research and Development Director Clare Barfoot said: “We have been very moved by Park Lane Stables’ amazing work and all that they have done to save their precious organisation. We are delighted to be able to make this donation and it makes me very proud to be part of a business that is passionate about making a better world horses and the people they help.”
Park Lane Stables provides much-needed therapy and happiness to hundreds of local children and adults with (and without) disabilities and mental health challenges. In a non-Covid year they provide 3000 sessions of therapeutic riding, including hippotherapy and carriage driving. They have a substantial waiting list of adults and children with disabilities in need of their services.
Natalie O’Rourke, Coach at Park Lane Stables, said she was grateful to Spillers for their support. “Their generous donation has given a real boost to our funds and this, together with the money we save from the cost of the lease will enable us to provide more lessons at a subsidised rate and invest in vital therapy equipment.”
Park Lane Stables was in the news during the London 2020 Covid-19 lockdown with #tinyponyatyourwindow, when stable volunteers spread cheer by bringing one of their ponies, Annie’s Whizz, to visit Londoners who were self-isolating. In all, they visited more than 300 people st their homes, schools, hospitals and care homes.