Ride High, a local children’s charity that transforms the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable children, is asking everyone to get riding this summer… but, surprisingly, not on a horse – on yer bike!
The charity is organising its first Ride High Cycle Challenge and is inviting local businesses to enter teams. After the stress and strain of the last 12 months the event is designed to reintroduce some healthy fun and team building as we start to return to the workplace – as well as raise vital funds to help the charity continue its important work.
Teams of up to six can choose a 50 or 100-mile carefully planned road route through picturesque villages and countryside in Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. Starting and finishing at the charity’s home in central Milton Keynes, there will be fuel stations and roaming support along both routes. You won’t be racing against the clock, so there’s plenty of time to have a great day out whilst achieving your challenge. At the finish line there’ll be a well-earned celebratory barbecue and the Ride High children will present finishers with hand-crafted medals.
Since the start of the pandemic many events have been cancelled, resulting in charities losing a considerable amount of income, whilst the need for their services has increased. After Ride London 100 was cancelled last year, four Ride High supporters decided to team up and cycle their own route and they had the best day.
One said: “Training for the cycle ride gave me a real focus over lockdown. I’m not an experienced cyclist so riding the challenge in a group was great. I never would have achieved it and had such fun without my team mates.”
Helping young people
Ride High’s Cycle Challenge this summer has built on that experience and will follow the same route. Together, the team raised an incredible £3,500-plus, enough to fund a place at Ride High for a whole year and to change the lives of up to three children like Lisa.
Lisa, 14, was suffering with extreme anxiety and low self-esteem which prevented her from attending school full time. She found it very hard to communicate and join in activities with other children, and so had become very isolated.
In the first week at Ride High, Lisa came with her parents and quietly watched a session in action; in the second she felt able to try riding a horse. By the third week she felt ready to embrace Ride High on her own. From that moment, Lisa went from strength to strength and her confidence soared. She was back into full-time school within a couple of months and even joined a netball club. Ride High kept in touch with Lisa all the way through lockdown. When she returned, they supported her back into school. Lisa left Ride High a changed young lady with the confidence and skills she needed to stay in education and thrive.
Lisa’s step-mum said: “Ride High is exceptional. I’ve never come across a service that’s so consistent or as caring. Lisa has become so much more confident since being at Ride High. Thank you.”
Ride High supports children whose challenging circumstances and traumas make everyday life a struggle. They use horses as a vehicle to help transform their lives. Horses enable them to connect with the children in a way other more traditional interventions such as counselling often don’t.
Many of them won’t speak – but they’ll put their arms around a horse and whisper in its ear – and that’s where the transformation starts. Over a period of three to 12 months they attend Ride High every week and the charity uses this connection with horses to engage them in a programme that supports their mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Sign up to make a difference
Now in its twelfth year, Ride High has helped to transform the lives of over 1,500 children and young people. The charity always has a waiting list of children in need and the pandemic has increased the demand for their services.
To help make a difference by taking part in Ride High’s Cycle Challenge, visit www.ridehigh.org/cycleride Registration is £20 or £30 (50 or 100 miles) and teams are asked to raise £350 per participant.