COVER ME: Hervey Bay Riding for the Disabled Association needs the community's help to build an undercover activities area at their grounds on Lower Mountain Rd, Dundowran. President Cheryl Greer leads Rylee Wittwer, 10, on Cindy.
COVER ME: Hervey Bay Riding for the Disabled Association needs the community's help to build an undercover activities area at their grounds on Lower Mountain Rd, Dundowran. President Cheryl Greer leads Rylee Wittwer, 10, on Cindy. Alistair Brightman

Hervey Bay organisation's desperate plea for help

VOLUNTEERS from the Hervey Bay Riding for the Disabled Association are appealing for Fraser Coast residents to save their cans and bottles, sponsor a horse or offer trades and services, to help bring a very special project to fruition.

Treasurer Robyn Mapp said about 60 volunteers spend about 8000 hours giving horse riding lessons in the sun each year.

They give up their time to lead the appreciative riders and spend hours brushing and feeding the horses.

That is why they desperately need a shade shed at their Lower Mountain Rd grounds.

The group has spent many years raising $40,000 to put towards a grant but have unfortunately been unsuccessful, which has left them well short of the $120,000 needed to construct the 20x20m undercover multi-purpose activity area with safety fencing, drainage and a specialised surface.

"We and the previous committee have been saving for a long time and trying to get together enough (money) to put towards a grant ... but they are not easy to get," Mrs Mapp said.

"But from our point of view we just have to do something soon.

"We will continue to apply for grants to get things happening.

Even if we can get the roof up that would at least get us out of the sun.

The not-for-profit association provides a range of equestrian activities for people with all types and levels of disability, every Thursday and Saturday morning.

Mrs Mapp said the cover would provide a safe, all-weather venue for the riders during this time, especially for those who could only ride during the cooler months due to medications.

"Our volunteers can spend up to five hours in the sun if we can't have a changeover of volunteers in the morning.

"It's important for our riders to also have some consistency because the longer they have off riding sometimes the harder it is to get on again as far as their muscles are concerned.

"Some of these children don't like things being changed either, they need routine."

To do that, the association is appealing to the community to donate their bottles and cans, which can be exchanged for cash as part of the Containers for Change recycling program.

Local businesses or individuals can also sponsor one of the 11 horses for $1000 a year.

"If there's any one that wants to collect for us, that would be wonderful.

"It will all help move forward with the project.

"One of our biggest costs is our horses and we were lucky enough last year that a number of people sponsored a horse each."

The association would also love to hear from any trades and services that may be able to assist with donating their time to build the cover or donate the materials needed.

"We don't have quite enough money to put the roof up at the moment but if a registered builder could come in we may possibly have enough to buy the materials."

The group is always on the lookout for more volunteers. Full training is provided.

Cans and bottles can be dropped off at the grounds at 316 Lower Mountain Rd, Dundowran or pick up can be arranged by phoning Mrs Mapp on 0407 686 476.