Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Hannah Russell
Features Writer
10:00 PM 6th March 2017

Supporting A Charity With Little Alf

Hannah and Little Alf volunteering at Bedale RDA
Hannah and Little Alf volunteering at Bedale RDA
In 2014 when my first book was published about Alf - 'The Magical Adventure of Little Alf - the discovery of the wild pony' I knew I wanted to support a charity.

I've always enjoyed fund raising for the charity since it's such a good cause, it's something I am a strong believer in, if you're in a position to do so. When I was at school I was always into the fund raising days so I didn't think twice about it when I launched my first book.

There are so many charities out there so choosing one I wanted to donate to was quite hard, but I knew all about the Riding for Disabled Association and the work they do. I discovered I had an RDA branch just a 20 minute drive from where I live so that was it, I'd made up my mind and went to visit the branch about my new book and ideas. They were incredibly supportive and enthusiastic.

The week after my meeting I took Alfie along to meet the Riding for Disabled members who adored him. Alfie was incredibly well behaved and I was so proud of him. It was nice that the group could interact with Alfie on the ground as opposed to getting straight on and going riding.

After the meeting I knew I wanted to do more than just donate to the charity, I wanted to volunteer every week, so I got the forms and checks done and started the following month every Thursday. The work involves tacking up the horses, grooming them and leading the horses around the arena.

I then found out about a YELA scheme - Young Equestrian Leadership Award, which works with the British Equestrian Federation and Sport England. It is designed to recognise the time and effort young volunteers give to the equestrian world and charities and has three programmes built into the scheme.

I signed up to the 'Bronze' award and completed it in 2015, which meant I had done over 20 hours volunteering in just 8 weeks.

Supporting a charity is incredibly rewarding especially with the RDA, as it is a great charity which uses horses and ponies to provide therapy, achievement and enjoyment to people with disabilities all over the UK.

This year Alfie and I haven't had loads of time to volunteer due to being really busy, but at the end of this month I am taking Alfie to the RDA to celebrate the 25th anniversary at my local branch, which I am really looking forward to.

Supporting a charity is incredibly important, even small donations have a huge impact and can change somebody's life.