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Tapping into a Welsh Government programme designed to help people made redundant from their jobs has brought a big improvement to the day-to-day administration of an innovative charity in North Wales.

Riding school banks on Janette’s management skills

Image of lady with a horse

An innovative riding centre for people with special needs has become more accessible to its users thanks to a skills and employment programme that has enabled the trustees to hire an experienced administrator who had been a victim of the banking industry’s redundancy programme.

Clwyd Special Riding Centre, at Llanfynydd near Wrexham, which was opened by HRH Princess Anne in 1992, is a registered charity providing life-changing experiences through horse riding for about 130 people a week.

The complex, which is recognised as an international centre of excellence, has stables for more than 20 horses, along with indoor and outdoor activity areas and holiday accommodation adapted for disabled people. It also trains volunteers, instructors, examiners and physiotherapists.

Day-to-day operations are delivered by a mix of employees and volunteers. However shortage of office management resources meant the centre’s much-in-demand office could only be staffed part-time, three days a week.

I would recommend all job applicants in a similar position have the details of ReAct II at their fingertips when approaching prospective employers, especially small and medium-sized businesses

All of that changed thanks to the Welsh Government’s ReAct II programme which provided funds and training support that allowed the trustees to recruit and train highly-experienced bank official Janette Edwards and keep the office in operation all day for at least four days a week.

In fact it was the sharp-eyed Janette herself who drew the programme to the attention of the trustees. It helped them to cover her wages, along with the cost of training, so she could adapt the administrative and financial skills from her banking career to a new environment. This included management development training.

Honorary treasurer Maurice Cottle, a retired chartered accountant was delighted by the ReAct II support, which is designed to remove barriers to workers made redundant from one sector finding work in other sectors.

Said Maurice: “The office is not only the administrative centre, it is also the first port of call for most visitors and, as such, is a very busy area of activity. Previously we could only provide part-time cover on three days a week but now the position can be open for eight hours a day, for at least four days a week, which is a significant improvement.”

He added: “As treasurer, I was very impressed with Janette’s response. It helped us greatly in the employment selection process and has helped offset the additional costs of a new recruit working additional hours.”

Maurice added: “I would recommend all job applicants in a similar position have the details of ReAct II at their fingertips when approaching prospective employers, especially small and medium-sized businesses. Recruitment decisions can be influenced by these schemes and this could be significant in improving skills and generating additional employment across Wales.”