AN OXFORDSHIRE charity has launched an emergency appeal to raise funds to help the most vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cancellation of fundraising events and activities due to the worsening outbreak has meant that charities like Abingdon RDA – Riding for the Disabled Association – stand to suffer huge income losses.

This is why the Southmoor-based group launched an emergency appeal on Just Giving to keep it afloat.

The local organisation provides therapy through horse riding, carriage driving and hippotherapy to local disabled children and adults.

However, forced by the increasing number of infections recorded last week the group suspended all of its therapeutic horse riding sessions indefinitely.

Since then almost £3,000 have been donated by more than 75 supporters to help the cause.

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But charity officials claimed they needs at least £3,000 more to cover the group's £7,500 monthly running costs.

Group chair Ann Barlow explained the activities were suspended with a heavy heart but that it was done in a bid to protect both participants and volunteers.

She said: "We support and work with many people who are more vulnerable to infection so we have made the decision to close our doors until the situation improves.

"This comes at a big price for us, as we are unable to run our regular programme of fundraising activities and risk losing donations as people spend less.

"It is very hard to maintain the public profile of a charity when it is forced to become inactive.

"Our loyal horses will still need feed, hay, visits from a farrier, and possibly even veterinary care, so it all adds up."

Currently the charity has 14 horses, which were used by almost 100 riders from across Oxfordshire, all supported by a team of dedicated volunteers.

It is uncertain when it will be able to open doors again, so it is difficult to predict if the current funds will be sufficient to stay afloat.

Research released b the charity showed that horse riding delivers physical benefits, boosts confidence, improves communication skills and helps participants to build better relationships.

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Ms Barlow added: "The impact this will have on some of our riders, who gain so much from attending our sessions, is huge – both physically and mentally.

"It has never been so clear just how much the time they spend with our horses helps.

"In a bid to ensure these sessions can continue as quickly as possible we need to keep our horses well cared for, in work and fit.

"At this difficult time we plead with the local community to help support Abingdon RDA by donating what you can to help keep the charity running."

For as little as £2 the charity is able to feed one animal for the day, while £5 provide bedding for one horse for a whole week.

A larger donation of £75 could pay for a horse's farrier fees.

Abingdon RDA said it is also encouraging material donations such as hay for the horses to eat and maintenance materials.

To find out more about the charity and donate visit