CRANFIELD TRUST BRINGS CONFIDENCE FOR THE FUTURE DELIVERY OF RIDING FOR THE DISABLED GROUP

Project Type: Staff Optimisation
Region: Scotland
A review of their organisational development has led to the appointment of a new Manager at Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled, with a £100,000 People’s Postcode Lottery grant ensuring continued success for the future.

Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled is a registered charity and affiliated member of the national Riding for the Disabled Association. It provides therapy and fun for people with disabilities and has grown steadily since it was established in 1986, with classes and therapeutic riding offered to nearly a hundred riders every week, many of whom have been attending for many years.  There is a closed waiting list for riding placements as demand outstrips supply. 

Ravelrig RDA is in a relatively exposed location which, particularly throughout the winter, can result in cancellations of riding sessions due to bad weather. To counter this, the organisation  is planning to build an indoor riding arena on the site. In addition, the day to day running of the organisation was co-ordinated by a longstanding volunteer and trustee, supported by a large team of over 120 volunteers. Looking forward, the co-ordinator was hoping to step back from this front line role, with the development of the new arena providing an opportunity to establish a new, paid Centre Manager role.

The Robertson Trust therefore suggested that Jacky Chalmers, Chair of Trustees at the charity, should contact The Cranfield Trust for help in developing a strategic plan. Jacky worked closely with Jane, the Cranfield Trust Project Manager in Scotland, and together they developed a brief focussing on planning and preparing for the appointment of the new Manager. Jane then matched Jacky with volunteer consultant, Francis Lake, an HR professional who had already worked on several similar projects for the Trust.

The Robertson Trust therefore suggested that Jacky Chalmers, Chair of Trustees at the charity, should contact The Cranfield Trust for help in developing a strategic plan. Jacky worked closely with Jane Whitworth, the Cranfield Trust Project Manager in Scotland, and together they developed a brief focussing on planning and preparing for the appointment of the new Manager. Jane then matched Jacky with volunteer consultant, Francis Lake, an HR professional who had already worked on several similar projects for the Trust. 

 Jacky was delighted with the help that she received from Francis, explaining:

“Working with the Cranfield helped Ravelrig RDA Trustees appoint a Development and Operational Manager with the skills needed to help secure our future. Without the assistance of a Cranfield Consultant, it is uncertain whether or not we could have clearly identified what were our needs. His experience - and diplomacy - contributed enormously to a successful appointment”

Furthermore, the appointment has already had a considerable impact on the organisation as well as ensuring a more smooth delivery of services, as Jacky continues:

"We now have in place an ideal candidate who, within 3 days of starting work with us, was making a presentation to the People's Postcode Lottery that resulted in us being awarded a £1000,000 grant towards the cost of building our indoor arena.

There will now be consistency of contact, as our office and telephone will now be manned during normal office hours and we would expect more income generation should happen which will provide financial security for the future of the charity"

For his part, Francis also appreciated the opportunity to work on the project, helping to bring the various stakeholders together to ensure their full involvement in the organisation design and appointment of their first permanent employee. As he commented at the conclusion of the project:

“The organisation provides a brilliant service for disabled children, all delivered by volunteers. There is a real family feel amongst all of those involved at Ravelrig. It really does have a special feel and the beneficiaries get a huge amount from going there.

“This project has required me to adapt approaches from a large organisation to a much smaller one. However, the best aspect has been working with an organisation that really does have a magical feel to it.”

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