It has been brought to our attention that a number of statements have been made by a former RDA Coach, Ms Jody O'Brien, relating to the local RDA Group, Phoenix RDA.
Phoenix RDA Group is a member group of Riding for the Disabled Association and as such, it is an independent charity working in Burnley and registered with the Charity Commission. The Group was formed earlier this year by a number of committed local RDA volunteers after the trustees of a separate RDA Group, NE Lancashire RDA, took the difficult decision to dissolve the charity.
The decision to dissolve NE Lancashire RDA took place after it became apparent that the trustees and Ms O'Brien as a long standing member of the team, could not reach agreement on the way in which the Group should operate to ensure that all the obligations of the charity were met and the riders it served continued to benefit from the opportunities it offered. The trustees of the Group, with full support from RDA UK, spent considerable time and energy seeking to agree a way forward before concluding that the Group was no longer viable and it ceased to be a member of RDA. We recognise that decision was not easy to make, but it was made in a considered and correct manner and we continue to be grateful for the contribution of the trustees and all those who worked with the Group. RDA UK (including the local volunteer team) also worked hard to support Ms O'Brien to continue the old charity, but it proved not possible and she chose to continue to train riders in a different context; we respect that decision and are pleased that this creates a different opportunity for disabled people locally.
We are clear that in closing the old Group, Ms O’Brien was not left with any outstanding debts or obligations of that charity.
The Phoenix RDA group are still building their network of riders and supporters, and we are confident that they will continue to offer an important service locally, enabling disabled children and adults to benefit. RDA UK's team continue to work closely with the charity trustees and other local volunteers to support the group. We are grateful for the hard work put in by those volunteers over a period of several months and look forward to seeing the Group develop and grow.