A riding centre which caters for disabled people is pleading for financial support from the community after it had to shut due to the coronavirus crisis.

There are 140 riders who are supported by Penniwells Centre in Elstree, but a decision has been made to suspend activity until further notice.

Penniwells is a charity that provides therapy through horses to disabled adults and children - and it is run by a team of dedicated volunteers.

But the Edgwarebury Lane centre, which has 14 horses, costs £4,000 a week to run - and group chairman Trix Summerfield is concerned about maintaining the welfare of the horses while the riding centre remains shut.

Borehamwood Times:

Ms Summerfield, who has been involved with Penniwells for more than 20 years, said: "We support and work with many people who are more vulnerable to infection so we have made the decision to close our doors until the situation with coronavirus improves.

"This comes at a big price for us, as without riders we have not got an income. Our loyal horses will still need feed, hay, and to see a farrier - possibly even care from the vets which all adds up.

"With no clear idea of when we will be able to start activities again it is difficult to know if we will have enough money to support our horses until riding resumes."

Borehamwood Times:

Centre manager Sarah Healing added: "The impact this will have on some of our riders, who gain so much from attending our sessions, is huge - both physically and mentally. It has never been so clear just how much the time they spend with our horses helps. In a bid to ensure these sessions can continue as quickly as possible we need to keep our horses well cared for, in work and fit.

"At this difficult time, we plead with the local community to help support Penniwells Riding for Disabled by donating what you can to help keep the charity running. As little as £5 will feed a horse for the day, £10 will provide bedding for one horse for a week and £96 pays for a horses' farrier fees."

The centre could downsize or close it if it does not raise the money it needs.

To support Penniwells, visit https://www.justgiving.com/penniwellsrdacentre