Rockinghorse receives £120,000 grant from The Camelia Botnar Foundation

The Foundation, based in Horsham, made the generous donation after hearing about the funding struggles...

The Foundation, based in Horsham, made the generous donation after hearing about the funding struggles that Rockinghorse were experiencing.

The Camelia Botnar Foundation was established in 1979 by Octav Botnar and his wife Marcela, in memory of their only child, Camelia, who was killed in a car accident at the age of 20.

The Foundation aims to support disadvantaged young people, offering a range of support including residential training and work experience to enable them to embark on a useful career path and a successful independent life.

Along with this on-site support, the Camelia Botnar Foundation makes donations to charities that meet their criteria of helping young people. During 2020 they were in a position to donate higher sums than usual as their own operating costs were reduced by having to close their Horsham facility during the national lockdown.

John Appleton, one of the trustees at the Foundation explained more: “Our aim here is to help disadvantaged young people up to the age of 21 and in a normal year we could have as many as 50 people living and training at our site near Horsham, but everything changed during 2020. To make the best of a bad situation we were keen to support other charities whose fundraising had been negatively impacted by the pandemic.”

 “When I heard the ‘Remember Rockinghorse’ appeal on BBC Radio Sussex, I thought that it really fitted with our charitable aims, so we made contact with them to discuss the possibility of a donation.”

After speaking to Sharon Gearing, the Trusts Fundraising Manager at Rockinghorse, the charity was overwhelmed to receive the incredibly generous donation of £120,000, one of the biggest single donations the charity has ever received.

An amazing difference

Sharon explained how much this will help: “At the beginning of 2020 we had aspirations to commit to fund between 40-50 projects worth £350,000. However, as the year unfolded, it soon became clear that we would struggle to fund even half this amount, leaving gaps in the support and care for sick and disabled children across Sussex.

“But this donation will really help us make up a large portion of that deficit and will make such a difference to so many children and their families.”

Rockinghorse is only a small charity but they have a large impact on so many families and communities. And this donation couldn’t have come at a better time, after a year which has seen our income drop by around £250,000.

How it will help

This donation will go toward a range of different projects that we fund including sensory equipment for children at Downsview Special Needs school, a therapeutic horse-riding project for children with severe and complex physical disabilities at Chailey Heritage Foundation and a mental health and wellbeing support service for children with cancer.

It will also be able to help fund vital equipment such as specialist asthma medication monitors, a paediatric intravenous anaesthetic pump and a simulation manikin to assist with staff training for emergency situations.

Ryan Heal, Rockinghorse CEO, was as amazed as his team to receive the donation: “We feel so enormously grateful that John happened to hear our appeal on the radio that day. At times during this year, we have all struggled to keep our spirits up, but this has been a great boost and really helped us all feel like the hard work has been worth it.

“It’s also lovely that one charity has been able to help another. Everyone is aware of the strain that the charitable sector has been put under this last year, so it’s wonderful to have a bit of good news to share. We can’t thank the Camelia Botnar Foundation enough for their support – it really will make a huge difference to many, many children throughout Sussex in 2021.”

To find out more about the Camelia Botnar Foundation, take a look at their website at: