A renamed kids’ charity is looking for donations to ensure its new beginning can help youngsters to turnaround their lives.
Stable Life is the new name of the former Gala Youth Project, and will aim to use horses at Dryden Stables near Ashkirk as therapy for youngsters who have suffered emotional and behavioural issues, as well as learning new skills.
But the group is seeking various items – in particular Wellington boots – to give the children the best footing.
Board member Michelle Ballantyne said: “The kids who come along to Stable Life often don’t have wellies or other kit needed for coming to a stables.
“We also need items such as brushes and rakes, or any donation someone can make, otherwise we have to pay for it ourselves and it could be costly.”
Stable Life was an initiative run by GYP for over six years at riding schools across the Borders, but when the lease became available for Dryden, the charity chose to move from its town centre base and embrace the country life for good. It is currently in the process of selling off its Bridge Street office.
The scheme helped almost 100 at-risk children last year, with two-thirds seeing a significant improvement in behaviour.
Among them is 16-year-old Becca Miller from Coldstream. Her work with Stable Life saw her pick up a Saltire Award for completing 100 hours of volunteering and she is now preparing to attend Borders College after being accepted onto a horse care course.
Becca said: “I had difficulties at home and went into foster care. But I have spent the last 18 months helping out with Stable Life and it has really helped.
“Without it, I would not be where I am just now.”
Mrs Ballantyne, also the councillor for Selkirkshire, added: “This facility can really transform kids’ lives.
“We hope they can feel comfortable here.”
Team leader Nicola Glendinning told us: “For some of the children, working and even just touching a pony can be very therapeutic.”
Stable Life is now aiming to assist 250 children per year by 2016, while there are also plans to build a new classroom.
Support has already been received from Scott Tomlinson of NDS Joinery and Ashkirk Timber, as well as Anne Cranston from Broomhill Farm.
To support Stable Life, you can text the code STLI13 followed by the amount you wish to donate to 70070, or if you wish to donate equipment, get in touch with the stables.