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Charity teams with The Prince's Trust to deliver youth development programme

By Kyle Ritchie

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Aberdeenshire charity HorseBack UK has been chosen to deliver The Prince’s Trust Team Programme, which will commence in January.

Aimed at young people aged 16-25, the scheme inspires and empowers participants to think about their future.

The emphasis is on teamwork, community, environment, wellbeing and future employment.

The programme is based on HorseBack UK’s decade plus experience running its military courses to empower serving and former armed forces personnel suffering from both physical and mental life-changing injuries.

Using horsemanship and outdoor activities the charity delivers personal development programmes that encourage participants to acquire new coping strategies, life skills, build lasting resilience and leave with an official SQA qualification.

Horseback UK’s Schools Development Programmes have been successfully running for the past six years. With an emphasis on participation and personal development, teenagers participate in the same SQA Level 4 Certificate in Personal Development Through Horsemanship over a 15-day course.

Charity HorseBack UK delivers personal development programmes.
Charity HorseBack UK delivers personal development programmes.

The new youth scheme, a 12-week course of training and community engagement, has been created in collaboration with The Prince’s Trust and will be delivered as part of its Team Programme at HorseBack UK’s headquarters in Dinnet, Aboyne.

The charity is supported by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, who is now its royal patron. The Duchess shares a passion for horses, is a keen rider and understands the incredible emotional impact the animals have on human recovery.

It is this emotional connection, along with HorseBack UK's distinctive educational tools, that make the charity leaders in mental health recovery.

Anxiety and depression are seriously affecting young people, particularly following the Covid pandemic.

There is evidence from the Office for National Statistics of increasing anxiety and depression among young women aged 16 to 24 years in the UK, with nearly one-third (31 per cent) reporting some evidence of depression or anxiety in 2017 to 2018; this is an increase from the previous year (26 per cent) and the same period five years earlier (26 per cent).

The evidence shows young people between 16 to 24 reported suffering more from some form of anxiety than other age groups (28 per cent) and also of moderate to severe symptoms of depression (22 per cent).

The team at HorseBack UK is imperative to the success of the participants and each course leader has some form of mental health life experience that supports the delivery.

Throughout the programme participants will get the opportunity to take part in an activity residential; two weeks work placement; interview and CV building skills; a community project; The Prince’s Trust Certificate and Award in Employment; teamwork and community skill; develop presentation skills; work with horses and gain additional qualifications including SQA Level 4 Personal Development Through Horsemanship, SQA Level 4 Mental Health and Wellbeing and John Muir Award (Discovery Level).

The charity provides a number of courses including military, community, schools and corporate. The Prince’s Trust Team Programme starts on Monday, January 31.

Co-founder of HorseBack UK Emma Hutchinson said: “Everyone at HorseBack UK is very excited to be delivering this programme for The Prince’s Trust. It’s a perfect fit.

"We are passionate about helping people with mental health challenges and The Prince’s Trust focuses on helping vulnerable young people get their lives on track.

"Horses are such wonderful creatures and they have proven time and again that they can really help young people reconnect with themselves and build their confidence and self-esteem to help them make the most of their lives.”

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