A National Lottery funded project supporting young people’s wellbeing through work with horses has been praised by Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris.
The MP visited New Routes ‘Introduction to Horse Care’ to find out more about the project and speak to some of the young people.
The project helps those with complex needs by teaching all aspects of horse care, riding and land-based skills, alongside traditional qualifications offered through the National Open College Network.
After visiting the stables Mr Heaton-Harris said: “It was great to visit the outstanding ‘Introduction to Horse Care’ project and see these young people learning in such a unique environment. I really enjoyed taking part in the teamwork exercise, working with the students and the horses.
“It’s wonderful to witness National Lottery funding in action in my constituency and learn how it is helping to improve the young people’s lives.
“I was also pleased to learn that the project has an excellent success rate and has plans to develop further.”
New Routes, based at Holcot Riding School in Daventry, was awarded £10,000 of National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund last year, to cover costs including student transport, essential clothing, learning materials, riding lessons and a project support worker.
Youngsters attending the project range from age 12 to 18 and struggle to engage with mainstream education as a result of having ADHD, autism or complex emotional and behavioural issues.
New Routes project coordinator Camilla Cobb explained how working alongside horses can be beneficial for young people with complex needs because they are highly sensitive animals.
She said: “I see miracles happen with really difficult young people when they work with horses. We can teach the students about emotional intelligence and teamwork and by observing a horse’s behaviour.
“Learning topics also need to be very practical so the students can see the benefit of what they are doing, so we also teach activities like mucking out and grooming, which is good for physical wellbeing.
She added: “Learning to ride and handle the horses really increases the young people’s self-confidence through gaining new skills and the funding has helped us to tailor our teaching to the individual needs of each student.”
James Harcourt, England grant making director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “It is thanks to National Lottery players that inspiring projects like New Routes ‘Introduction to Horse Care’ can make such a difference in their communities. We are proud to be funding such a worthwhile project that improves the lives and wellbeing of so many local young people.”