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New programme from the BHS aims to get young people back on track

29 Jan 2017


The largest equine charity in the UK, The British Horse Society (BHS) announces the launch of a new programme today (29 January); Changing Lives through Horses.

The new programme will help tackle the UK’s growing number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). This comes as *Prime Minister; Theresa May announces that young people are struggling more than ever before with mental health issues, especially those disconnected from society.

The programme uses the unique equestrian environment to provide them with a natural sense of structure and responsibility. By working with horses the young people are able to connect once again with society and improve their wellbeing. Together, this combination helps assist the development of essential skills for the rest of their lives. 

**Nearly one in ten 16 -18 year- olds are NEET and ***one in four young people struggle with low self-esteem, wellbeing and mental health problems. This is the highest level seen in over eight years. ****The situation is even worse for NEET young people worried about their future. Research shows that approaches like Changing Lives through Horses can help prevent young people from becoming NEET. 

The BHS best known for campaigning for the welfare of horses and riders, has launched the Changing Lives through Horses programme through selected BHS approved riding centres across the UK.  Each centre has skilled coaches to support the development of life skills with horses.

The programme is aimed at the secondary school age group; to those who would be more suited to an alternative education environment. The skills they learn will help their transition into further education, training and employment. 

The campaign is being supported by The British Horse Society’s President; Actor Martin Clunes. Martin Clunes said; “I’m absolutely delighted to be supporting this new programme from the BHS, which is aimed at the younger generation to help them get back into education and the workplace. It’s about young people learning new skills in a unique environment”.

Lynn Petersen, Chief Executive of The British Horse Society, said; “These magnificent horses can help inspire, motivate and educate young people. The programme is designed to build their confidence and their desire to want to learn again. I believe we have hit a nerve. By learning how to react with horses, their confidence and abilities have been brought out once again. It’s incredible, and it’s all done through the magic of horses”.

The BHS is working in partnership with secondary schools and youth organisations. As well as other wellbeing and mental health charities; Place2Be, Riding for the Disabled Association, Athletic Community Trust (CACT), Youth Sports Trust, UK Youth and Learning through Landscapes. 

This programme relies on public donations and grant funding. Please consider making a donation, visit; or text ‘CLTH65 £5’ to 70070 to start changing someone’s life.

 Notes to editors:

*1. House of Commons Library Briefing Paper. NEET: Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training, Published 29/09/2016, J.Mirza-Davies

In September 2016, 843,000 young people aged 16-24 years were not in education, employment or training1, at risk of becoming socially excluded with income below the poverty line and without the skills to improve their economic situation. 

The current estimated cost to society of not integrating these young people has been estimated to reach £32 billion.

*2-4. Source Princes Trust; Youth Index 2017.

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