Vandals a setback to group’s plans

HAYLEY GODDARDSound Telegraph

The Peel Riding for the Disabled Association has suffered another blow in its bid to relocate its program to Kwinana’s Mead Farm after the old homestead was severely vandalised last month.

Association president Kristin Hosken said she was devastated to see windows, floorboards, walls and security fences smashed in by vandals who failed to appreciate the building’s significance.

“It’s heartbreaking to see this historic Rockingham icon vandalised,” she said,

“It will mean more work and more expense to upgrade the property for RDA’s use in the future.”

Mrs Hosken said vandalism and security at the old farmhouse was a constant battle for the not-for-profit agency, which for more than two years had tried to acquire the land to agist its 14 horses, and was awaiting final lease approval from the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Corporation.

Given the group’s limited space at its Baldivis premises, the horses are kept at various properties and transported to and from appointments with people with disabilities.

Mrs Hosken said the program, used by more than 40 people, helped strengthen walking and upper-body muscles, as well as improved communication and social skills.

She said the group wanted to expand, but could not embark on those plans without more volunteers, funds and, ultimately, space, hence the dream to relocate to Mead Farm.

“The long-term goal is to prepare the land and restore the farmhouse for our headquarters,” she said.

Mrs Hosken said the group would also love to have a community garden at the site.

She said the group would like to share the farm’s history with people and she believed holding RDA sessions would go a long way towards achieving that goal, as well as preventing constant vandalism at the historic grounds.

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