New MK Mayor backs Ride High
18th May 2017
Newly elected Mayor of Milton Keynes for 2017-2018, Councillor David Hopkins has selected Ride High as his Charity of the Year.
The Mayor said ‘It is a privilege to dedicate my time and fundraising efforts to support Ride High. The charity plays such an important role within the Milton Keynes community; supporting our most vulnerable children in a unique and engaging way that really does change their lives. I firmly encourage the Milton Keynes community to get behind this special charity”.
Rachel Medill, Founder and CEO of Ride High said “We are thrilled to have the backing of the Mayor, especially during Milton Keynes’ 50th anniversary year. We have a waiting list of children who desperately need our help. The money the Mayor raises will help us to bring these children to Ride High”.
Throughout the mayoral year, the Mayor and Mayoress, Susan Hopkins will attend a range of events and activities and meet a number of MK businesses; working hard to raise much needed funds for Ride High as well as helping to raise the charity’s profile within the community. You can support the Mayor in various ways, through making a donation, volunteering or attending a Ride High event or taking part in one of their fundraising initiatives. For more details see the Milton Keynes’ Mayor’s website.
Cawleys pick Ride high children to celebrate 70 years
7th April 2017
Cawleys the waste management company is celebrating 70 years in business and has marked its commitment to the Milton Keynes community by selecting MK Charity Ride High as its local Charity of the Year.
Ride High children visited Cawleys headquarters in Luton today for a ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour of the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF); they saw staff and machinery at work sorting the waste and learnt about the waste journey and recycling. This was a great educational experience for the children who now have a good understanding of how to help care for the environment and to minimise waste.
Cawleys is a family business that actively supports the communities in which it operates. Cawleys has big celebrations planned for 2017. Keep an eye out for their first 70th Anniversary Glass Collection Vehicle that will display the Ride High logo!
Ride High children to write their own book
5th April 2017
Actress and author Sue Jameson visited local charity Ride High this week to deliver an interactive workshop on storytelling and writing. The children’s stories are now going to be compiled into a beautiful book for them to keep and be proud of.
This was an incredibly inspirational experience for the children who thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to write and illustrate their own stories with the help of a professional author and publishing company, Forelock Books.
A Ride High member (aged 11) said “I had the best time learning about how to write a good story. I am going to read more now and one day I will write my own book”!
When children first come to Ride High they often need support and encouragement to help them develop or improve important literacy and communication skills. This workshop is a great example of how Ride High, with support from external organisations such as Forelock Books, help develop the children’s reading, writing and other communication and creative skills. It also provides the children with inspiration for the future.
During the workshop Sue, who has starred in many popular TV programmes including BBC’s New Tricks and has recently penned her first book Pony Tails, read an extract of the book to the children. The book is about four ponies and the people whose lives they changed, so resonated with Ride High children who themselves benefit enormously from their time with horses. Sue then spoke to the children about the different aspects of story writing and the steps you need to take to get a book published.
Ride High joins MK Business Chamber
20th February 2017
Ride High has become a Charity Member of the Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce. We wish to use our membership to help build new partnerships with businesses in Milton Keynes who would like to help support the wellbeing of the Milton Keynes community by getting involved with Ride High. There are a variety of ways that businesses can support our work with disadvantaged children and there are many advantages to doing so, including increasing staff engagement.
The Chamber, which has over 400 members, accounting for around 18% of the Milton Keynes workforce, has been specifically designed to enable small and medium sized businesses to make the most of their potential.
Visit Ride High’s profile on the MK Business Chamber Directory.
New partnership with GMS Group
7th February 2017
Ride High is delighted to announce that GMS Group of Companies has chosen to support the charity in 2017.
GMS Group, is a leading national security service provider which actively supports a number of charitable organisations. GMS is sponsoring a child; their sponsorship will allow a child to attend Ride High for one year which will allow us to make a significant difference to his or her life. A further donation from GMS will fund the purchase of new riding equipment and sweatshirts to keep the children safe and warm when they are riding.
GMS Group CEO Neil Male explains why he’s happy to support Ride High “Having met Rachel I was inspired by what she and her team has achieved in a very short time with Ride High. GMS are proud to partner with this charity and help to support underprivileged young people in the Milton Keynes region.”
Rachel Medill, MBE, Ride High Founder and CEO says “Our new partnership with GMS Group comes from their desire to change a life for the long-term. Their sponsorship will certainly enable us to transform the life of our chosen child over a year, and help us to support several other children. We’re delighted to have the support of GMS Group.”
Ride High Silver Screen Ball raises record-breaking £86,000
31st January 2017
Ride High rolled out the red carpet on Saturday 28th January, welcoming over 290 guests to the Ride High Silver Screen Ball at Jurys Inn Milton Keynes. Special guest and patron of the charity, Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2 and current Eggheads presenter headlined the evening which raised a record breaking £86K – the most the annual event has ever raised.
Throughout the evening guests enjoyed an entertaining and hugely successful Live Auction and Pledge hosted by Ride High Founder and CEO Rachel Medill, followed by a live band to dance the night away. The highlights included speeches from two Ride High graduates who found the confidence to stand on stage and tell their own personal stories about how the charity changed their lives. Current Ride High members were also at the Ball as ambassadors for the evening. They were excited to introduce a beautiful collage they created as the final item in the Live auction, which was sold for a staggering £2,200!
Ride High will use every penny raised at the Ball to continue supporting disadvantaged children in Milton Keynes in 2017. Rachel Medill said “I am absolutely delighted that the Ball raised such a huge amount of money. This really will make such a difference to so many young lives in Milton Keynes. I would like to thank everyone involved in making the event such a huge success – a special thanks goes to our wonderful volunteers and our sponsors and long-term supporters Sysmex UK and RSM UK”.
Jeremy Vine said “The Ride High Ball was a fantastic event. The fact that it raised £86,000 is testament to the dedication of Rachel and her team who make a lasting difference to the lives of so many disadvantaged children in Milton Keynes. I absolutely loved being a part of such a special night. There was a lot of love for Ride High in the room and I realised it’s a huge part of Milton Keynes life now”.
Meet Ride High’s London Marathon 2017 competition winner!
16th December 2016
We are delighted to announce that Claire Davey from Milton Keynes is the lucky winner and will be running next year’s London Marathon for the local charity.
Claire, a keen runner, who works at Sysmex UK, one of the UK’s leading diagnostic suppliers which is already a huge supporter of Ride High, was excited to receive the news. “I have personally met some of the amazing children that are supported by this charity and it is those individuals that have encouraged me to take on this challenge and support in the only way I know how……running. Every penny I raise will help this wonderful charity and these amazing children and will contribute to improving a young person’s life now or in the future.”
If you would like to sponsor Claire please visit her fundraising page.
Radio Ride High Stars
18th November 2016
This morning children from MK Charity Ride High became radio stars when they spoke on BBC Three Counties Radio.
BBC Three Counties Breakfast Show was broadcast live from the Ride High Centre to mark Children in Need Appeal Day. Ride High receives funding from Children in Need so it was a great opportunity for Radio Presenter Andy Roberts and his team to visit and see how the money donated really helps to change children’s lives.
All the children at Ride High are referred by childcare professionals; they’re all disadvantaged in some way and one thing they all share is a distinct lack of self-confidence. Ride High works with these children for a year (or longer if necessary) helping to build their confidence and to help put them on a positive path. The children were very nervous about speaking on the radio but Andy called them ‘naturals’ and how far they have come since attending Ride High was clearly evident as they mustered the confidence for the radio. It was a great experience for all the children and they thoroughly enjoyed it.
Rachel receives ‘two more’ awards!
3rd November 2016
Congratulations to Rachel Medill who, after being awarded an MBE for Services to Young People in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list earlier this year, has now also won the ‘Community Impact-Charity Award’ at the MK Women Leaders Awards, and an Honorary Degree from the Open University.
Ride High Competition to win a place in the London Marathon 2017
13th October 2016
Ride High has a place in 2017 for the lucky runner who makes the most compelling application. If it’s your ambition to complete the race here’s your chance to make it to the start line and raise money for Ride High. Click here for more information.
Announcing the Ride High Ball 2017
Special guest Jeremy Vine returns for the Ride High Ball 2017. Join us on Saturday 28th January for an evening of glitz and glamour celebrating all things silver screen.
Ride High receives Healthy Young People’s Award
3rd October 2016
Ride High has recently been awarded the Healthy Young People’s Award, created by MK Council and various partners including the NHS and Youth Services. The award demonstrates our aim to support the development of healthier, happier children and young people by fulfilling high standards in three themes: healthy eating, physical activity and lifestyle influences (personal, social and emotional health).
Ride High is Amazon’s ‘Charity of the month’
30th September 2016
Ride High has received a donation of £2,500 as part of the local fulfilment centre’s community support programme. The money will help pay for riding lessons for new children starting at Ride High during the Autumn term
To mark the donation, members of the Amazon Milton Keynes charity committee visited Ride High’s centre to meet some of the children and volunteers and see the horses. Claudio Innocente, General Manager at Amazon Milton Keynes, said:
“Ride High is a brilliant local charity and we’re thrilled to support them with this donation. Myself and the team enjoyed visiting the centre and seeing firsthand the great work being done for children in our community and on behalf of everyone at Amazon in Milton Keynes, I’d like to wish them all the best as they continue their important work in the local area.”
Rachel Medill MBE, Chief Executive and Founder off Ride High added: “It’s fantastic to receive this support from a local business like Amazon and everyone at Ride High is hugely grateful for the donation. The money will be used to help fund our riding lessons for local children in the coming months and on behalf of the volunteers and children at Ride High, I’d like to say thank you to Claudio and the team for this kind gesture.”
Co-op Local Community Fund selects Ride High
22nd September 2016
Ride High has been selected by the Co-op at Neath Hill to receive funding from their new Local Community Fund launched yesterday.
For the next six months every time Co-op members of Neath Hill buy Co-op branded products and services 1% of their spend goes to the local community. The more members spend, the more money goes to Ride High and the two other local charities selected: MK SNAP and the Safety Centre MK.
Funds raised will be spread equally across the three charities. However members do have the option to go online and select a chosen charity. To make Ride High your charity of choice go to www.coop.co.uk/membership.
Ride High Founder, Rachel Medill, receives MBE
Congratulations to Rachel Medill, founder of Ride High, who has been awarded an MBE for Services to Young People in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
This honour is an incredible endorsement of Rachel’s personal dedication and the charity’s achievements over the last seven years. The charity began with just 6 children in a Portakabin; today it supports up to 80 every week.
“This honour shows what a vital role Ride High plays in the lives of disadvantaged youngsters – and although Rachel will be far to modest to claim the credit, it underlines the unstinting sacrifice and powerful sense of mission she has personally brought to the charity. Not many people change so many lives for the better, but my friend has.
I’m so proud of the charity and so proud to know her.”
Jeremy Vine, Ride High patron
“Congratulations to Rachel Medill on her recent accolade, it’s great to see good work being recognised in this way. BBC Children in Need has funded this project since 2015 and is pleased to support Ride High in making a difference to young lives within Milton Keynes.”
Kerry Luker, Regional Head of London and the South East for BBC Children in Need
Rachel spent most of her early years around horses. It was when her mother became severely ill and was in hospital on a regular basis that her grey pony, Miskish, became a lifeline.
Rachel said, “I knew that my mother might die and somehow being with Miskish, either just in the stable or he would come and lie down with me in the field, somehow made things feel just a bit more manageable.”
This went on for many years and it was from this that the driving principle of working with children for the long term was born.
“I knew that children who had been hurt, abandoned or traumatised wouldn’t mend in a few weeks and giving them just a nice experience for a few weeks wouldn’t work either.
“I knew that if I could get a child interested in horses I could help them with so many other skills. Today more than half our work is on developing speaking and listening skills, working on how to make friends, how to deal with bullying, how to work in teams and yet to have the confidence to be independent.
“Ride High has worked with over 1000 children but the impact has been on thousands more – as a child goes back to school so her mother can get back to work, as a child is no longer at suicide risk so both parents can get sleep and attend to their other children. If we can stop a child’s behaviour meaning they have to go into foster care there is hope that family will mend. If we can get a 14 year old back into school she has a chance to escape a life of state dependency and every chance of living a fulfilling independent life.
“My aim is that we work with more children – we’ve developed our own programme of developing social skills, confidence and self-esteem and we know it works. We work closely with CAMHS who refer children to us partly because they just can’t cope with the numbers of children who are referred to them – and there are some children for whom several sessions with a psychiatrist can’t make the breakthrough that a horse can.”
The way forward
“There are almost 70,000 children in care in England – Ride High has ambitions to help many many more of them.
“My ultimate ambition is to set up an equestrian and training centre where most of our employees have been Ride High members – where we offer apprenticeships and jobs for people who will be priceless for our organisation because they have learnt the Ride High values:
EVERY PERSON COUNTS
“We need to raise £300,000 – 400,000 to make this a reality. I have no idea how we’ll do it but if we can we will change the lives of thousands of children – initially here in MK and eventually in other centres round the UK.”
Announcing Dine High for Ride High
Raise funds for Ride High during the Dine High weekend.
All you need to do is invite your family and friends to a meal of your choice between Thursday 5th – Sunday 8th Mayand ask them to make a donation in aid of Ride High.
New Minibus Arrives Thanks to MK Community Foundation & Sysmex UK
The MK Community Foundation and locally based company Sysmex UK, have provided Ride High with the funds to purchase a new minibus. The minibus is absolutely essential to the programme. We are so grateful for generosity and continued support.
Open University Honours Ride High Founder – August 2015
Rachel Medill, Chief Executive and founder of MK Charity, Ride High, has been offered an honorary degree from the Open University in recognition of her work changing the lives of MK’s most vulnerable children.
Since its inception seven years ago, Rachel has worked full time on a pro bono basis building the organization which helps up to 90 children every week.
“It is completely different from my city career but it has been the most rewarding period of my life. When children first come they are often unwilling to speak at all, within weeks they have made friends and arebeaming from ear to ear as they ride their favourite pony. Children who wouldn’t leave home at all initially find the confidence to get into college. The majority of children who self harm every day when they first attend stop self harming within 6 months.
“Nothing I have done has been wholly my own; I have been supported at every turn by committed volunteers. Milton Keynes has been the most wonderful environment in which to set up and run a charity – we have had support from so many organisations including the MK Community Foundation.
Ride High ‘n’ Low Team Conquer Three Peaks in 24hours!
Congratulations to the Ride High n Low team of 8 who successfully completed the Three Peaks in 24 hours Challenge on Sunday 12th July, all in aid of Ride High. An amazing achievement. Thank you isn’t enough to cure your blisters and sore muscles, but the money you have raised is enough to fund a child’s place at Ride High for an entire year – we hope that helps you on the road to recovery.
Fossil and the Ride High team raise £2155 by climbing Mt Snowdon
We did it! On Saturday 30th May our staff & a team from Fossil MK conquered Mt Snowdon in aid of the children at Ride High.
Hard work and determination needed but everyone reached the summit with a smile!
Monday 17th November – Diamond Ball raises £60,000 for Ride High!
We are thrilled to announce that our black tie ball on Saturday 15th November raised just over £60,000 in funds for Ride High. Thank you to every volunteer, supporter, prize donor and attendee – this incredible achievement would not have been possible without you.
Sunday 21st September – Rachel Medill, in Sunday Times’ Change Makers 2014
Our founder and CEO, Rachel Medill, has been shortlisted in The Change Makers 2014 competition for her work with Ride High.
The Change Makers is run in partnership with Community Channel’s Do Something Brilliant campaign and The Sunday Times to celebrate individuals who have made a big difference. A high-profile judging panel consisting of Eleanor Mills, Editorial Director at The Sunday Times, founder of Kids Company, Camila Batmanghelidjh and Caroline Diehl, CEO of Media Trust, selected Rachel for her work in setting up and running Ride High to support Milton Keynes’ most disadvantaged children.
As a finalist of The Change Makers 2014, Rachel and Ride High are mentioned in today’s edition of The Sunday Times (News Review supplement, page 6).
Tuesday 16th September – Ride High Meets Clare Balding
On Tuesday 16th September we were lucky enough to meet Clare Balding at her book signing in WHSmith in Centre MK. It was great to meet someone so heavily involved in the horse racing and sport industry and she had some great advice for our aspiring jockeys.
Monday 15th September 2014 – Ride High Quiz Raises £955.73!
Thank you to everyone who attended our fundraising quiz at Aspley Guise Village Hall on Saturday 13th September. We raised almost £955.73 and had a wonderful night of quizzing, raffle, drinks, lasagne and sweet treats. With matched funding from Barclays also possible, we may be able to match this figure to total over £1900.