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Riding high . . . Geraldine Riding for the Disabled members are pleased to be among the latest recipients of Fonterra's Grass Roots Fund. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Alexia Johnston

A new pony is enjoying life at Geraldine’s Riding for the Disabled (RDA), thanks in part to Fonterra’s Grass Roots Fund.

The group has received $2000 from the Fonterra funding initiative, which has been used to buy a pony, group president Jenny Hall said.

“We were thrilled to get that from them.” – Geraldine RDA president Jenny Hall

Other groups helping include the Lions Club of Geraldine, Winchester Rodeo Association, Mid and South Canterbury Community Trust and the Geraldine Benevolent Trust.

More fencing would also be installed at the riding facility at Raukapuka Reserve, thanks to the Grass Roots Fund.

“We were thrilled to get that from them,” Mrs Hall said.

“We’ve been frantically fundraising this year.

The money was needed for two new ponies.

The Geraldine RDA, which has 10 children regularly attending therapeutic riding sessions, now has six ponies, but two were reaching retirement age, Mrs Hall said.

A range of community groups and schools has benefited from the latest round of Grass Roots funding, including the Clandeboye Public Hall and Timaru South School.

The funding is aimed at supporting the social needs of present and future generations through suitable projects, ideas and initiatives.

The fund has supported since it was established in 2007, including worm farms and recycling facilities for schools, seedlings for a riparian planting programme and equipment for emergency response services.

Fonterra global sponsorship manager Kane Silcock said the fund supported initiatives that enriched people’s lives and benefited their community.

“It’s our way of supporting projects and ideas that bring our communities together and make them better, safer, more vibrant places to be. It’s a way to say thanks to the people of New Zealand.”

Applications are considered twice a year by the Fonterra Grass Roots Fund committee for the Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast and Canterbury regions. The committee comprises Fonterra farmers and staff, and other community representatives.