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The Essentia Foundation

Equi-Power Central Scotland RDA

Home | Funding | Case Studies | Equi-Power Central Scotland RDA

success stories

July 2022 – Equi-Power

Equi-Power Central Scotland RDA

Stirling

Equi-Power Central Scotland RDA was established in 2015 and uses the power of relationships with horses to support the learning, health and well being of children and adults with additional support needs (ASNs) across Central Scotland. They currently operate from a venue outside of Stirling and are open seven days a week.

The group delivers regular horse-riding sessions, equestrian vaulting (gymnastics), equine-assisted learning opportunities and a range of volunteering & supported volunteering opportunities. All their clients have a disability or ASNs and predominantly come from Forth Valley, Falkirk and Stirling. The majority of their clients are children and young people aged 5 to 25 years old.

The Project

In 2020, The Essentia Foundation awarded the charity a grant of £2,500.00. Grant monies went towards extending volunteering opportunities at the organisation. Volunteers play an important role at the organisation and they assist in all aspects of service provision including riding sessions, vaulting and equine-assisted learning opportunities. By expanding the capacity of volunteers at the charity, Equi-power hoped that the project would support approximately 50 clients and 70 volunteers (10 volunteers per week), 20 of which are aged 25 and under.

Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, Equi-power ensured that volunteers could stay active and engaged in the organisation. Zoom sessions were conducted with young people on a weekly basis and these purposeful sessions helped to reduce loneliness and isolation. In-person services resumed slowly from April 2021, in line with the easing of local and national covid travel restrictions relating to sporting activities and volunteering. From April 2021, programme funding contributed to staffing costs associated with re-establishing supported volunteering for vulnerable volunteers who had lost social contact and confidence.

Over the course of the project, the following in-person activities took place:

  • 5 volunteers, two of whom were supported volunteers, attended Makaton for Horse riding training. Volunteers learned horse riding specific Makaton signing to support children and young people with hearing loss during sessions.
  • 1 supported volunteer was funded to attend BHS Horse Knowledge Part One online training offered by a BHS centre. This volunteer gained a nationally recognised award and was up skilled to support participants by sharing knowledge during sessions.
  • 1 supported volunteer gained her RDA level four Horsecare award, supported by online training from an RDA coach. As a result of this training opportunity, this volunteer was awarded RDA UK’s Participant of the Year!

Project Testimonials

Thanks to funding from The Essentia Foundation, Equi-power has been able to offer young people, the chance to learn new skills, socialize and take on additional responsibilities within the organisation. The project was a testament to the charity’s belief that people of all abilities can play an active role as a volunteer in their local community.

“Funding from The Essentia Foundation has made a valuable contribution to upskilling our volunteers and supporting disabled individuals to volunteer their skills and time for the benefit of others.”

Equi-power staff

Project Outputs

Millie’s Story

Supported volunteer Millie Boo Smith is 15 years old and lives with severe hearing loss and Cerebral Palsy. Millie has successfully competed in both riding and equestrian vaulting with Equi-Power, and volunteers by supporting younger riders and vaulters to improve their skills during sessions. Millie has also been instrumental in raising funds for the group.

During lock-downs in early 2021, The Essentia Foundation supported Millie in gaining her RDA level 4 Horsecare award and a BHS Horse Health Challenge award, furthering her ambition to work with horses when she leaves school. Millie’s dedication to participating, volunteering and up taking educational opportunities was recognised in 2021 when she was awarded RDA UK’s Participant of the Year 2021 by Princess Anne!

Project Images

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