Riding into the Sunset: Why McIntyre Centre Had to Close

Eagle Farm-based charity HELP Enterprises has issued a response to criticisms stemming from the closure of the beloved McIntyre Centre Riding for the Disabled in Pinjarra Hills.

Some residents could not help but express disappointment over their decision to shut the facility. HELP Enterprises, hence, stated to clarify its position and reasoning behind the move.

HELP Enterprises revealed that six different groups had expressed interest in taking over the operation of the McIntyre Centre. Since none of the not-for-profit organisations and allied health providers met the requirement stated under charitable trust, they decided to pause the process.

Taking into account various factors, the charity clarified its decision to shut down the disabled riding centre. These factors include changes in the funding landscape due to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rules as well as the transition from a volunteer-led operation to a centre requiring qualified, paid staff.

According to the statement, the Deed of Gift that transferred the centre to HELP Enterprises in 2017 necessitated substantial investments, and since then, the organisation has spent around $4 million on infrastructure and maintenance.

They also clarified that the organisation’s commitment to its charitable trust obligations prevented any alterations without court approval.

However, the transition to a blended model of staff and volunteers in accordance with NDIS guidelines, along with other funding changes, led to a drastic drop in the number of rides provided annually – from 7,500 to 2,800.

HELP Enterprises emphasised that the decision to cease services was not taken lightly, and they share the concern for the participants and horses. Furthermore, they were planning on finding appropriate homes for the horses. It was clear to them that they were not planning on selling them at auction.

Whilst acknowledging the difficulty of the decision, HELP Enterprises assured that it is committed to finding the best possible outcome for the McIntyre Centre’s future.

They expressed the belief that it could take up to six months to identify a new operator, and in the interim, the sale of assets including horses would fund essential maintenance of the property.

Published 17-August-2023