Launch of National Lottery Fund Grant

It was a red letter day on Tuesday, November 9, when Magpie Centre trustees, volunteers and members of the local community welcomed Heidi Haxeltine, National Lottery Fund Community Funding Officer, Peterborough and Norfolk area, to celebrate the launch of a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.

The grant, payable in quarterly instalments over three years, is to help develop and expand new activities at the Centre, including Equine Assisted Learning Therapy, which benefits people living with mental health challenges; training for a new instructor to deliver this programme; support for Tea With a Pony, aimed at people with dementia or age-related reduced mobility, and a new website for West Norfolk RDA.

Colin Perriss, Chairman of WNRDA, and several trustees were on hand to welcome West Norfolk Mayor Harry Humphrey, Lady Mayoress Brenda Humphrey, former mayor Geoff Hipperson and former mayoress Rose Hipperson, Norfolk Deputy Sheriff James Bagge, plus representatives from the Parkinson’s Society, Downham Market Dementia group and social prescribers.

After visiting the Sensory Garden (pictured), opened by HRH Princess Anne in July, Ms Haxeltine enjoyed watching a carriage driving demonstration in the adjacent paddock, followed by a riding lesson in the indoor school.

She said: ‘This is the first NLF project I’ve been able to visit since the start of the pandemic, so it’s been exciting to see the Magpie Centre’s activities, meet the people involved and see at first hand the difference the Centre’s activities make to the community.’

Flower bed with pony in background