A popular North East horse-riding school specialising in therapeutic riding sessions for people with disabilities has been given a new lease of life thanks to a generous donation from AkzoNobel Ashington.

The Pegasus Centre, which is home to the Morpeth group of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), received over 100 litres of specialist paint from the manufacturing giant, including Dulux Trade Weathershield Exterior High Gloss, Dulux Trade Weathershield Exterior Flexible Undercoat, Dulux Trade Weathershield Smooth Masonry Paint and Cuprinol Ultimate Garden Wood Preserver to refresh its indoor arena and stable block ahead of hosting a major regional competition.

Having been selected by the RDA to host the 2019 Northern Regional Championships earlier in the summer, staff and volunteers at The Pegasus Centre set about preparing for the event, writing to a number of local businesses to seek support for the rejuvenation of the Centre ready to welcome riders of all ages and abilities from RDA groups across the North East and Cumbria.

One of the trustees at Morpeth RDA, had read about another project that AkzoNobel had been involved with locally and decided to reach out to them about the possibility of supplying some paint.

“We’re very fortunate to have such a fantastic facility here in Morpeth but in order to make the best first impression possible ahead of the competition, we wanted to tidy the place up a bit,” said Sue Thompson, trustee at Morpeth RDA.

“While our ground rent for The Pegasus Centre is covered by Active Northumberland, Morpeth RDA is first and foremost a charity, so we rely on fundraising and the generosity of our corporate partners and volunteers in order to maintain the Centre and improve our services for the people we support.

“The paint provided by AkzoNobel completely transformed our indoor arena and stables, we were also able to paint the outside of our main barn using special masonry paint which has made a big difference to the overall look of the Centre. Seeing the Centre looking so bright and clean really lifts the spirits of our volunteers but it also has a positive impact on the children and adults that we support with riding and of course, our horses and ponies too.”

Established nearly 50 years ago, Morpeth RDA provides therapeutic horse-riding sessions for children and adults aged 8 to 68 who suffer with multiple and complex learning and or physical disabilities. Riders can experience up to 1,000 different beneficial movements with every ten minutes they spend on horseback which not only provides excellent physiotherapy benefits, but also helps to build confidence, which in turn can improve riders’ communication skills.

The Northern Regional Championships, which preceded the RDA’s National Championships in which 14 of the Centre’s riders competed, gave some of the Centre’s regular riders the chance to take to the saddle and show off their skills in both the dressage and countryside challenge categories. Competitors of mixed ages and abilities were scored on factors such as control and communication with their ponies as well as competency and skill.

Alex Wardle, process engineer at AkzoNobel Ashington, commented:

“AkzoNobel believes in the power of colour to transform lives. We are committed to helping community organisations like the RDA, and showing the world AkzoNobel Cares, with donations of paint and volunteering time wherever possible to help uplift communities, change behaviours and make living and working spaces more fun, inspiring and enjoyable.

“We were delighted to make a donation of paint to the Morpeth RDA group and we’re thrilled that the makeover has been so well received by staff, volunteers and the people who use The Pegasus Centre.”

AkzoNobel is the world’s leading manufacturer of decorative paints and coatings, with household brands including Dulux, Dulux Trade, Cuprinol and Hammerite.

Opened in September 2017, AkzoNobel’s £100 million site in Ashington is regarded as the world’s most advanced and sustainable paint manufacturing facility.

For more information about AkzoNobel, visit www.akzonobel.com or for more details about Morpeth RDA, visit www.morpethrda.com.