Category Archives: Volunteers

All the latest news for our volunteers

makaton image

Makaton and riding lessons

makaton imageIf you’re an arena volunteer and are working with people who use Makaton to communicate, you might find it useful to check out this handy guide to some of the vocabulary you’d need in a lesson.

Makaton is used to supplement spoken language for people who are learning to use spoken language, so you can use it alongside speech when you’re communicating with riders.

Safeguarding for Volunteers



Safeguarding is the action taken to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect. As a Centre safeguarding is extremely important to us. Below we explain a bit more about Safeguarding and urge that all of our volunteers completed the online training course as detailed in this newsletter.




Children – a young person under the age of 18


Vulnerable Adult – Someone 18 years or over who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of disability, age or illness; and is or may be unable to take care of and protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

What is Abuse

Abuse is mistreatment by any other person or persons that violates a person’s human and civil rights. The abuse can vary, from treating someone with disrespect in a way that significantly affects the person’s quality of life, to causing actual physical or mental suffering. Types of abuse are:


  • Physical Abuse: hurting or injuring by hitting, pushing, restraint, poisoning, etc.
  • Sexual Abuse: director or indirect sexual exploitation by involvement in or exposure to inappropriate sexual activity or pornography
  • Psychological or Emotional Abuse: treats, intimidation, coercion, harassment, bullying, belittling or inappropriate parent/carer expectations
  • Neglect: Persistent lack of appropriate care, ignoring medical, physical or emotional needs, depriving of medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
  • Financial Abuse: theft, or undue pressure in connection with money or possessions.
  • Discriminatory Abuse: inappropriate treatment based on a person’s disability, ethnic origin, gender or sexuality.
  • Institutional Abuse: repeated instances of poor care, ill treatment or unsatisfactory professional practice.
  • Grooming: attempting to befriend or win favour with a child, vulnerable adult or their carer. The ‘grooming’ as it is called enables the offender to gain access to the child or vulnerable adult or to be in private proximity to them for an ulterior motive such as sexual or financial abuse.


What must I do if I am concerned?


  • If the person has choosen to speak to you directly about the issue, advise them that you are there to listen without judgement but the information they tell you will need to be shared. If the person decides not to share at this point, do not coax them into speaking.
  • Allow them to speak without interruption and write down the conversation as you go, using the actual words they are using where possible, do not ask leading questions.
  • Reassure them that you will pass this information on for investigation, do not promise that you can stop the situation immediately.
  • Report the concern immediately to one of the Centre’s Safeguarding Officers – Yvette Whiffen, Andrew Manning or Gill Edwards. Information should be kept confidential. Only share by exception.

How can I learn more?


We advise that all of our volunteers complete the online RDA safeguarding training course if they have not already attended the course. Details of how to do this can be found at


If you are not a volunteer and have a concern about someone who attends the Centre, please contact Yvette Whiffen, Safeguarding Officer.

Our full safeguarding Policy can be found here:


Volunteer Coach Vacancies

Vacancy: Volunteer RDA Coach

We are currently recruiting Volunteer RDA Coaches:

(Minimum 2-3 hours per week, weekday, school term time only)

We are one of the largest Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Centres in the country.  We provide therapeutic riding lessons to 190 riders with a wide range of disabilities every week.

Our coaches work with up to 6 riders and lead a team of 6-18 volunteer helpers per session. There are opportunities to work with adults or children, with physical disabilities, learning disabilities or both. They also lead individual sessions on our horse simulator.

You must be focussed, enthusiastic and inclusive and a team player.

Applicants must have some technical knowledge of riding: an understanding of Walk, Trot, Canter and simple dressage movements.

We provide a tailored RDA training course, with the opportunity to work towards UKCC qualifications.

For further information, please contact Kim Langbridge at or 0117 959 0266


Could you help with our Open Day?

Some of you may have seen that we are running an Open Day on Sunday 9th October.

It aims to be an inclusive day with tons for families to do. Could you help?


We need cakes! Could you bake a cake (or batch of fairy cakes, brownies etc) for us to sell on the refreshments stand? Please don’t make anything that needs refrigeration, and submit a list of ingredients – particularly well-known allergens eg nuts – with your cakes.

You can drop cakes off on Saturday 8th October or on the day.


Whatever your skills, we need you!

A bit strong? Come and put up gazebos or bunting, and lug tables and chairs around at the beginning or end of the event.

Silver trained volunteers? Help with pony rides!

Know a bit about the centre? Don’t mind talking to groups? Give stable tours!

We really want to make this a day for the whole Avon Riding Centre family. It would be great if you could give an hour or so of your life so we can have a lovely do!

To volunteer: email Louise Leigh  and she’ll pop you on the list!

Talk on Sensory Issues in ADHD and Autism

We are lucky enough to have among our parents, Advanced Occupational Therapist and Clinical Lead for Autism, Debra Westgate.

She has kindly offered to give a talk for our current volunteers on how these issues might effect some of our riders.

Volunteers are most welcome to attend on Thursday 15th September 2016. The talk will be at 7.30pm and will be 1 hour, followed by a pot-luck supper.

Please sign your name in the diary or email Louise at if you would like to be included. If you have a favourite dish you’d like to bring, please let Louise know.

Regional Dressage Times Monday 18th May

Please see below the times for
Avon Riding Centre Riders.  External Riders can get their times from their group.





Name of Rider


3 5b   1 10:30 Kerry Keightley Coco IV
60 1a   1 11:30 Tegan Vincent Cook Bertie
61 1b   1 11:40 Cat Cucos Winston
62 1b   1 11:50 Diane Green Leaf
63 6b   2 12:57 Charlotte White Bella
64 7a   2 10:51 Emily Rodman Jim
66 8b   1 12:30 Stella Jelly Roddy
67 8b   1 12:20 Claire Mill Marge
68 8b   1 12:00 Jenny Armstrong Roddy
69 10b   2 11:45 Liam Bailey Barney
70 11b   1 10:10 Jonathan Kemp Dad’s Secret
71 13b   1 09:45 Verna Clifford Barney
72 18a   3 10:10 Alisha Craigie Bunty
72 22a     09:34 Cory Grinter Bunty
73 18a   3 10:30 Cory Grinter Spike
73 22a     12:19 Alisha Craigie Spike
74 18a   4 12:10 Zoe Henderson Frankie
74 23a     09:49 Zoe Henderson Frankie
75 20a   4 11:40 Morgan Rogers Bunty
75 23a     12:09 Morgan Rogers Bunty
76 20a   4 10:40 Lucy McLean Bunty
76 23a     11:16 Lucy McLean Bunty
77 23a     14:05 Laura Barefoot Barney
78 23a     09:30 Beth Bayley Bertie


Countryside Challenge


Please note there will be road works and delays at Cribbs Causeway so we suggest you find an alternate route to the Centre.

Directions to Avon Riding Centre from M5 Southbound Junction 18

 On reaching the roundabout at the end of the slipway take the left hand lane and exit towards Shirehampton. Go onto a short dual carriageway and pass under the Motorway before reaching a set of traffic lights.

Turn left here signposted to Lawrence Weston and follow the main road through the estate. Go straight on through the roundabouts and ‘pinch points’ on Long Cross past shops and schools until the road finally turns right and goes up a hill to a T junction at the top.

Turn left onto Kings Weston Road and you will see Blaise Castle Park opposite you and a very high hedge on your left. Turn left into Woodgrove Road immediately after this hedge and Avon Riding Centre’s entrance is on the left.

Avon Riding Centre-Directions

Centre Update January 2015

Please see attached the January Centre Update. In this issue you will find:

  • Introduction
  • Challenges
  • Charity of the Year
  • Clothes Recycling
  • Nativity & Carol Service
  • Moorland Multi-Terrain Race
  • Endeavour & Proficiency Awards
  • RDA Dressage Competition
  • Notice to Non-Disabled Saturday Riders
  • Dates for Your Diary
  • Clive Milkins Lecture
  • Volunteer Awards
  • Mid-Winter Quiz

Centre Update – January 2015                

10K Photos!

Yesterday saw the 4th annual 10k multi terrain race at Avon Riding Centre.  The event is organised for us by Town and Country Harriers who donate all of the profits of the event to us.  It was yet another fabulous day, the sun shone from start to finish and the mud must have been very appealing as many returning runners looked like they had bathed in it!  We are enormously grateful to the 173 adults and 30 children who took part to raise funds for us and to Tilly and Lucien and their team for another great event.  We will have the date for next year soon so watch this space for another great way to come and be part of the work of Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled.

We would like to say a massive well done to all the runners who braved the mud in order to compete, and, a huge thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their time to help on the day.  We couldn’t have done it without you.