Festina Lente is hoping to raise €3 million to secure a new home to allow it to grow.
The Bray-based equine and horticultural learning charity for those with special needs plans to raise €3 million to secure the purchase of Belfield House and lands in Kilpeddar to facilitate a move and expansion.
The charity says it has outgrown its current location on the Old Connaught Road in Bray and needs to secure a permanent base for it future development. A further €20 million will be needed to get the charity's new home up and running once it has been acquired.
The charity is known across the racing industry for its outstanding work in the field of equine assisted learning for those with special needs and their training programmes. Currently they employ 60 staff and touch the lives of over 40,000 Irish people each year.
Dr. Jill Carey, CEO of Festina Lentes said “Festina Lente’s plan is to build a state-of-the-art National Education Centre to continue our current work. We will be also focussing on re-training and re-purposing racehorses, enabling these animals to have a second career in riding clubs, dressage, show jumping and in certain equine assisted learning programmes. As part of this, Festina Lente will develop an accredited training programme for equestrians wishing to learn how to look after and work with ex-race horses.”
Patron of Festina Lente and Head of the Fundraising Committee, Finbar Cahill, said “It is critical to the survival of Festina Lente that the €3 million is raised to fund a purchase of Belfield House which has already been agreed. Once we are over this first hurdle, the second challenge will be to raise the €20 million to get the facility up and running.”
Festina Lente’s proposals include broadening the range of equine assisted programmes to include; equine assisted coaching and leadership; an academy to rehome/retrain ex-racehorses and collaborate with employees in the racing/breeding industry.
Cheltenham Gold Cup Winner and Ambassador to Festina Lente, Rachael Blackmore, said: “I was lucky to spend time with some of the children at Festina Lente recently. They are all champions, keen to learn and benefit from the special connection horses have with humans. Festina Lente’s extensive list of programmes offer a future path in life to those in need. This is why raising the funds to secure their new home is critical.”
Champion trainer Willie Mullins said “Festina Lente is recognised for its work not only in Ireland but worldwide and Dr. Jill Carey and her team are the undoubted experts and go to people in this unique field of assisted learning. Faced with ever-increasing demands for its services and lengthy waiting lists Festina Lente is rising to the challenges. It’s new home will not only accommodate more students but will offer it the opportunity to rehouse and retrain racehorses together with a new course teaching retraining skills.”
Belfield House was built in the 18th century and past residents have included Major WJ Odlum, of the famous flour dynasty.
More information about the campaign is available at festinalente.ie.