Horse therapy charity bridges the funding gap

A BORDERS charity which uses horses to give vulnerable young people a new direction in life has been given funding to meet a cash shortfall, writes Andrew Keddie.

A grant of £6,942 has closed the deficit faced by the Stable Life Project, run by Galashiels-based GYP Borders.

Funding to sustain the work was already in place from a range of providers, including BBC Children in Need, Leader, Wider Role and Scottish Borders Council, but now the final piece of the cash jigsaw has been provided for by the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland whose chief executive Mary Craig told us: “I am delighted that we have been able provide the money this project needed.

“GYP Borders has more than 25 years’ experience in supporting disadvantaged young people and the Stable Life initiative appears to be an effective tool in improving behavioural issues which could have a positive long-term impact on a young person’s life.”

The latest grant takes the amount the charity has received over the years to nearly £75,000.

The Stable Life project, which is run from four centres throughout the Borders, involves weekly one-to-one or group sessions in which horses or the environment are used in therapeutic teaching to help young people learn new skills, increase their self-confidence and improve their discipline.

Evaluation and feedback from previous years have shown that 49 per cent of the young people who have participated have re-engaged with school, 78 per cent have shown improved behaviour with their families and 43 per cent who were identified as being isolated are now involved with their communities.

Over the next year the project will work with 82 young people, who are referred by social work and education services, police, the NHS or other voluntary groups.

Marion McIlwraith, GYP Borders’ operations manager, said of the gap-bridging grant: “It is absolutely fantastic. Without such financial input, we would struggle to maintain the project.”

In addition to Stable Life, GYP Borders operates Chance 4 Change, a befriending project for disadvantaged young people, and Berwickshire Mentoring Services, which provides one-to-one mentoring and group work involving whole families.

Charities which would like more information about applying to the foundation for an award should contact Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland on 0131 444 4020.