The Scottish Government’s minister for children and young people paid a special visit to a local children’s project recently.
Aileen Campbell MSP met young people at Stable Life at Dryden, near Ashkirk, to hear first hand their experiences of coping with the personal challenges in their lives including coping with substance issues.
Learning life skills through the horse and its environment is a unique approach to supporting vulnerable children and young people.
Aileen Campbell said: “For most young people growing up is a fairly smooth and natural process but for others this couldn’t be further from reality.
“A young person’s circumstances and related behaviour can often push them to feel isolated or excluded from their school and community. This can lead to anti-social and risk taking behaviour, substance misuse, mistrust of adults and failure to reach their full potential.
“Stable Life offers young people across the Scottish Borders an opportunity to address these issues by engaging them in work with horses and helping them build the skills and confidence to make extremely positive and long-lasting changes to their lives.”
The initiative was run by Galashiels Youth Project, now known as Stable Life, at various riding schools, but when the lease became available for Dryden the charity chose to embrace the country life for good, also changing its name.
It is supported by the Lloyds TSB Foundation through its Partnership Drug Initiative (PDI) with the Scottish Government.
Mags Powell, business development manager at Stable Life, said: “We are delighted that Aileen Campbell has found the time in her busy schedule to visit Stable Life and spend time with some of the local youngsters we are working with.
“We know how important continuity is for the young people involved and taking on the lease of this riding centre means we are able to provide a community environment which makes it easier for them to address the issues they have.
“As well as providing more support for local young people through Stable Life the riding centre is also a fantastic resource for the whole area and this will help us provide more security for these vulnerable young people by making our organisation be more sustainable in the future.”