Three young grant-makers from Scottish Borders Youth Chex found themselves horsing around on a visit to one of the scheme’s beneficiaries this week.
Scottish Border Vaulters, who perform gymnastic routines on horseback, invited Rebecca Bertram, 16; Joris Caldow, 13, and 14-year-old Finlay Watt along to a training session at the Monteviot Estate near Ancrum to see first-hand how a recent Youth Chex grant of £436 was being used.
Head coach Helen Rogerson guided the youngsters through warm-up and training exercises before introducing them to the equine members of the team, seven-year-old piebald Oscar and trusted veteran Matt, aged 20.
Youth Chex is part of Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) Scottish Borders Youth Voice, an initiative which aims to empower 12-25 year olds by supporting them to take part in youth-led activities. Youth Chex, a Youth Bank funded by SBC and licensed by Youth Bank Scotland, makes funding available each year to projects which benefit young people living in the Borders. Scottish Borders Vaulters recently applied for Youth Chex funding to support their training for competitions in the UK and abroad.
When asked by Finlay and Joris what difference the funding had made, the young vaulters explained that they had used it to buy audio equipment to help them develop their routines, and video equipment so that they could record and review their rehearsals and performances.
Sam Kyle, 12, said: “Youth Chex has definitely helped improve our performance.”
Sam’s mum Jill added: “This is the best group of vaulters I could work with.
“There are noncompetitive vaulters who are driven by fun, improving fitness and enjoying social inclusion. We also have several competitive vaulters who have recently returned from competing in Belgium.”
Despite not having tried vaulting before, the visit being Rebecca’s first experience of getting up close to horses, the evening culminated with the brave youngsters saddling up the horses to sample the sport for real under expert guidance in Monteviot’s indoor arena.
Youth Chex grants are available to young people aged 12-20 whose idea for a project or activity will benefit 12-25 year olds in their area. Applications for funding are assessed by the ten young grant-makers of the Youth Chex panel which next meets on Monday June 30. For more information or to apply, visit www.scotborders.gov.uk/youthchex