On the same night as the BBC’s Children in Need appeal, 300 local business people and residents attended the Ride High Black Magic Ball to raise money for MK’s children in need.
Ride High, the charity which helps the city’s most disadvantaged children, raised £51,500 – a quarter of its running costs for 2014 during the event, held at the Jurys Inn.
Rachel Medill, founder and chief executive, said: “Milton Keynes surpassed itself on Friday night. We are thrilled and so grateful to the guests who supported the ball so generously.
“Raising a quarter of our running costs for 2014 gives us a good cushion going into the New Year and while finding the funding is always a struggle this ensures we can continue to help up to 70 of the city’s most desperate children every week.
“Our grateful thanks to all the companies and individuals who helped,in particular, headline sponsors Sysmex UK Limited, media sponsor The MK Citizen, Johnson’s Honda, Thisismyfilm.com, Karen Parker, Perfect Contour, and graphic design company Bobbyflash.
“Without them the Ride High Ball just wouldn’t have been the success it was.”
The charity works with 70 disadvantaged children who attend Ride High for two hours every week during term time and for activity sessions, trips, volunteering and work experience during the holidays.
Volunteers achieve incredible results by working with many of these children for the long term. All find friends and it helps many out of severe depression and a sense of hopelessness.
Using horse riding and associated clubroom activities the charity works through the structure of “The Ride High Award” to improve personal, social and emotional wellbeing, as well as life and employability skills.
Every child has his or her own story, with several relayed to the audience including that of 12-year-old Lucy.
Lucy was living with an alcoholic father and witnessed repeated episodes of domestic violence.
Home was not a safe place and she was moved into foster care. She would not speak to any adult and would only communicate at school by putting a tick or a cross on a whiteboard.
Lucy’s first words at Ride High were spoken to Cracker, a horse; a simple “hello”, but something had changed.
Just weeks later, Lucy was not only learning to ride a horse but had started to whisper to the clubroom leader.
Now, five months on, Lucy is not only speaking but has made friends, discovered a love of riding and now dreams of studying equine studies at College.
The charity is currently looking for several volunteers to help the team at Ride High. They include a senior teacher, club leader, driver, children’svolunteer and administrative helpers.
Details are as follows:
> Senior teacher/SENCO – we’re looking for a qualified teacher to join the Ride High team.
We work with children in small groups and aim to facilitate many into volunteering, further education and work experience. We need someone to lead our team of children’s workers and volunteers. Ideally with some equine knowledge you will be keen to work within a small team to improve the life chances of young people. Comfortable with setting hard and soft success criteria and running a busy team to achieve great outcomes with children from difficult backgrounds you will have the opportunity to build on the success of Ride High.
> Club leader – could you lead children’s sessions and build relationships that will change lives? This Considerable experience working with children and equine knowledge are both essential although no riding teaching is involved. You will love working with children on a range of fun projects to develop confidence, creativity and social skills and help with trips out and other activities.
>Ride High Driver – we are looking for a minibus driver for a 15 - 20 hour a week contract. Flexible hours including some evenings. A clean driving licence is required.
> Children’s volunteers – do you have a background with horses and would like to volunteer with our young people? We are looking for people who can give upthree hours per week during term time to help the groups with tack, mounting etc for their riding lesson and assist the Clubroom Leader with planned activities.
> Administration volunteers – we always need help in our busy office with administration and general support. If you would like tovolunteer with us for 4 or more hours a week please get in touch.
For more information about these opportunities please contact Ride High at