Charity’s future looking stable thanks to grant

Lesley Hogg and Mags Powell from Stable Life  with Toffee the horse at Dryden Farm.
Lesley Hogg and Mags Powell from Stable Life with Toffee the horse at Dryden Farm.

A Borders charity is riding high after a funding boost of almost £106,000 secured its future for the next three years.

Stable Life, which offer therapeutic and support activities with horses for young people, has been given £105,957 to fund its staff until 2021.

Based at Dryden Farm, near Ashkirk since 2013, the charity supports youngsters who are in distress, struggling with poor mental health or abuse, or are at risk of exclusion from school.

It offer sessions which help those young people feel happier, more confident and better able to cope, by teaching them about horse behaviour and engaging them in their daily routines at the stables.

It’s eight staff and additional volunteers hold sessions which encourage young people to use calm and positive communication techniques encourage bonds with the horses, and also to carry those techniques into their day-to-day lives.

The sessions are guided by experienced staff who also offer workshops on independent living, arts and crafts, volunteering, support with work placements and advice on helping the young people explore their feelings and discover strategies to better manage their emotions.

Stable Life’s chief executive and secretary Margaret Powell said: “You can visibly see young people relax as soon as they walk into the stable, which is really important as the horse will respond to positive cues and empathy.

“Ultimately, these activities can help young people become more self-aware of their own emotions, giving them greater perspective and control in difficult situations.

“We are grateful for this continuation grant from BBC Children in Need and the great work it will allow us to do in the years to come.”

The charity, headed up by a board of six trustees, is reliant on grants like this one to pay for everything from suppling riding gloves to buying wheelbarrows and feed, and does also bring in funds itself through hiring out of the indoor and outdoor schools and offering liveries at the stables.

Florence Burke, head of BBC Children in Need in Scotland, added: “We are delighted to fund the work of Stable Life and we look forward to seeing the difference they make to the lives of children and young people across the Borders who need it most.

“We are incredibly grateful for the public’s generosity as they make this possible.”