Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is currently scouting for some seriously big players to join The Wooden Spoon Scotland First Fifteen, a team of horses that will provide life-changing fun and therapy for young people with disabilities.
Wooden Spoon is a children’s charity founded in 1983 that is dedicated to helping disadvantaged children and young people live happier, richer lives. Inspired by its rugby roots, passion, integrity, teamwork and fun drives everything we do.
I am proud to have been part of the work of Wooden Spoon in Scotland for many years, and recently our fundraising in Scotland topped the £3 million mark. We have secured the support of some of Scotland’s top players past and present who are always happy to help out, especially when they get the chance to meet some of the thousands of young people who benefit.
It’s always exciting when a Wooden Spoon Scotland-funded project nears completion, and there’s a lot to look forward to in the coming months. Our Teenage Den will make a difference for young people with life shortening conditions staying at the CHAS Robin House Children’s Hospice at Balloch by Loch Lomond, and in Aberdeen we have helped local charity Befriend a Child to create a safe and welcoming play space for young people growing up in difficult life circumstances.
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, family dynamics change dramatically as parents juggle hospital stays with work and other family commitments. Other children in the family can suffer as a result of not seeing their parents for days on end, so when we were approached by Edinburgh-based fundraising charity It’s Good to Give to support their vision for a retreat that will allow families valuable time together, we were pleased say yes.
Opening later this month, Ripple Retreat is an exceptional building on the southern bank of Loch Venachar near Callander. To complement the building, Wooden Spoon Scotland has funded the Ripple Pier which will enable children and their families to fish and participate in water activities.
Most recently we have agreed to donate £30,000 to Who Cares? Scotland, a charity which stands up for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable young children with experience of the care system. Last year there were 15,317 looked-after children in Scotland, and 2,723 children on the Child Protection register. The money will be used to buy a minibus that will help tackle the social isolation children face when removed from parents who can’t provide them with the love and support they need to thrive.
The real value of the fundraising dinners, golf days and sporting challenges which have included skydiving, canoeing and even playing a rugby match in the Arctic, is seeing the difference the money makes, not just to the young people in need but also their families and carers.
I can’t wait to see the RDA national squad in action and have no doubt that the Wooden Spoon Scotland First Fifteen will be a winning team.
Former Scotland and British Lions captain Gavin Hastings is Honorary President, Wooden Spoon Scotland