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Community / Filsket Riding Club launches fundraiser to ensure its survival

Brand new car on offer as summer raffle prize

The Filsket Riding Club, formed in 2002, has faced a financial burden after being unable to operate for an extended period due to Covid-19.

A PONY riding club that has been unable to operate for almost two years to Covid-19 is staging a summer fundraising raffle as part of efforts to secure its future.

The Filsket Riding Club, based at Seafield in Lerwick, has had no income since March 2020 with its voluntary committee taking on the full cost and care of its animals since.

The raffle, in association with Toyota and Jim’s Garage, was launched on Tuesday (1 June) with the prize draw taking place on Saturday 2 October. The winner’s prize is a brand new red Toyota Aygo X-Play, and more details are available on the Filsket Riding Club’s Facebook page.

Club spokeswoman Lisa Johnson said they had sadly had to retire a couple of older ponies and were not in a position to operate for a second consecutive summer.

The club – which was formed in 2002 – is run entirely by volunteers and offers bairns aged 5-16 of all abilities twice weekly riding, safety and animal welfare lessons throughout the summer. It also takes youth activity groups for taster sessions and caters for Ability Shetland’s holiday club whenever possible.

“This raffle is an opportunity for the club to hopefully purchase new ponies, repair and replace equipment and be able to get the club up and running again for summer 2022,” Lisa said.

“Because we have had zero income since summer 2019 the club’s funds are depleted. The volunteer committee members have personally covered all costs throughout the pandemic.

“Because we currently don’t have enough ponies to run a full programme of lessons and because of restrictions over sharing equipment etc. we really need more ponies of our own to be able to restart the club.”

Lisa said that there was sometimes a perception that horse riding was a “wealthy hobby or occupation when the opposite is true”.

She cited high and “sometimes unpredictable” costs in caring for animals such as farriers bills, vets bills, grazing, winter feed and physiotherapy, along with equipment and maintenance costs, employing a qualified instructor and relevant insurance.

“We are aiming big with this raffle, but we’ve got to go big or we will not be able to offer the amount of lessons we previously offered and that will raise the issue of whether the club is actually still viable to run,” she added.

  • Raffle tickets costing £10 each are available via Filsket Riding Club’s page and will also be available in shops throughout Shetland including the Final Checkout in Unst, R.S. Henderson in Cullivoe, Aywick Shop, Ollaberry Shop, Brae Building Centre, Eid Community Coop, Tagon Stores, Tetly and Anderson in Whalsay, Thulecraft, Kool Kutz, Bigton Community Shop, Mainlands Mini Market and Jim’s Garage.