Riding for the Disabled North Inc

Riders at Riding for the Disabled North
Riders at Riding for the Disabled North

Riding for the Disabled North Inc is a member group of RDAA and is run entirely by volunteers. They offer carriage driving to people of all ages who have disabilities. They drive on most Tuesday afternoons and on one Saturday of the month from a private property at Swan Point on the West Tamar in Northern Tasmania. Riding for the Disabled North currently has six drivers ranging in age from 8 to 34 years and are waiting on two more to obtain medical approval.

The Tasmanian Community Fund supported Riding for the Disabled North to purchase a new dual purpose (wheelchair access) carriage to assist with their program delivery. The carriage was imported from the UK with the grant covering the purchase price of the carriage and the group successfully carrying out fundraising to cover the freight costs to bring it to Australia.

Initially Riding for the Disabled North had planned to have the carriage made locally; however the craftsman they had engaged fell ill and was unable to take on the project. After much discussion and investigation it was decided to approach a well known UK carriage building company, who has a good reputation for building these types of vehicles, and ask them to make it.

The clamping system on the new carriage holds wheelchairs in place much more securely and is a real boon for wheelchair drivers; the sprung shafts and higher body give wheelchair users a smoother ride and good forward visibility. The style of seating, with extra padding, is also more comfortable for ambulant drivers.

The new carriage, combined with Riding for Disabled North’s existing carriage will allow them to offer carriage driving activities to a greater number of drivers. They will also be able to drive with both vehicles at the same time.

The carriage is a sound investment and with regular maintenance it will be giving pleasure to drivers for many years to come. It is wonderful to see the happy expressions of drivers as they enjoy their carriage driving experiences with Riding for Disabled North.