Changing Lives through Horses is a unique initiative that uses the power of horses to inspire change. Since its launch in 2017, the programme has more than doubled in size, from 12 centres to more than 30 now offering this much needed programme across the country.
The programme aims to reignite a desire to learn, encouraging participants to return to education or employment. Changing Lives continues to achieve its charitable aims, with more than 70% of those who have completed the programme returning to education.
The programme is run by The British Horse Society (BHS) and targets young people who are, or at risk of becoming NEET, – not in employment, education or training. Government figures suggest there are 843,000* people aged 16-24 years old who are NEET. Changing Lives is a unique programme that provides an opportunity for participants to learn new skills, supporting them as they reconnect with society, whether they choose to work with horses or explore a completely different career path.
Melissa is one of the many young people whose lives have been transformed by the programme. She has a disability that meant she couldn’t cope in mainstream school. Her Mum spoke about the difference in Melissa since she joined Changing Lives: “We really can’t believe it, it's life changing, completely and utterly life changing… she’s got friends and she’s happy.”
Attending the Changing Lives programme at Carrington Riding Centre has allowed Melissa’s physical and mental health to flourish. Melissa has come on leaps and bounds since she joined the programme and is now working towards her GCSEs. This isn’t something that she would have been able to do beforehand, as her Mum explained: “her whole outlook has changed… she’s so much brighter within herself.”
Actor Martin Clunes, is the BHS’ President and ambassador for Changing Lives, he explained why he’s pledging his support: “I’m thrilled about the work that the BHS is doing with Changing Lives through Horses, because I’ve witnessed it first-hand all around the world, how many people’s lives are changed through horses and it’s a brilliant way to scoop people up who might have been left behind”.
Over 100 participants have accessed the programme to date. In order to expand the BHS needs to train more coaches and centres so they can run Changing Lives. However, they rely solely on donations and grants so they can continue to grow the programme and change more lives. To find out more about the programme, or to donate, visit justgiving.co.uk/clth.