ACT News


Riding school faces deadline

PEGASUS and the ACT government are in last-minute negotiations to save the disabled riding school before it runs out of money and closes on June 30.

Pegasus turns 40 this year and executive director Margaret Morton said the school works with 80 families and had another 100 on the waiting list.

''At this point in time we will still close on the 30th of June if we don't get both government support and community donations,'' Ms Morton said.

She said donations had dropped about 40 per cent each year since the global financial crisis while ACT government funding has remained at about $230,000 each year. Two years ago, Pegasus received $166,000 in donations but last financial year it was $120,000.

"We are in competition with national charities,'' Ms Morton said.

In order to turn the charity in to a profitable business, Ms Morton has proposed a four-year plan and is seeking a $2 million commitment from the ACT government.

As part of restructuring the business, Pegasus closed on the weekend and has added 4.30pm classes. Ms Morton also wants to double the herd from 12 horses to 24 and open the Holt facility to the public, with able-bodied riders paying $45 for an hour lesson.

And for the first time, disabled riders were asked to pay $20 for each lesson from January 1. A spokesman from Disability Minister Joy Burch's office said the government would continue funding the program at current levels and any additional funds would be subject to an independent financial assessment.