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£65k funding boost for horse centre

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By Newsdesk
Dumfries and West
£65k funding boost for horse centre

A HORSE rescue centre at Gatehouse of Fleet is celebrating funding success in the latest round of Young Start awards announced on Wednesday.

The Mane, which is part of The 3R’s Horse Rescue Centre, helps young people gain confidence and social skills through a range of outdoor activities based around horse-riding, animal care and gardening.

It will receive £65,254 to run a weekend horse-riding project.

The money means they will be able to help more young people like Aidan, aged 13, from Dumfries. When Aidan was a toddler, his mum, Hazel, and his doctors began to notice signs that he may not be developing as he should be for his age. After long stints in hospital, Aidan was diagnosed with a long list of disorders, including speech, language and memory issues. As the years went on, more of Aidan’s issues surfaced, including a severe eating disorder, which often saw him admitted to hospital, and Chiari malformation – a life-long condition affecting the brain which he may need surgery for in the future.

As he got older, Aidan found it more and more difficult to cope and became both mentally and physically unwell from the stress of going to school.

But after starting at The Mane, his mum Hazel soon began to see a huge difference in her son. She said: “I began to see part of my little boy that I thought I had lost. He was holding conversations, excited about activities at the group, finding his strengths, making proper friends, and forming relationships with other people.”

Aidan himself said: “Being with the horses makes me happy. I feel safe with everyone here and I know I can tell them if I’m worried about anything. I feel I can talk to people and I have friends now. I enjoy helping others who come here too.

“I feel more confident and I’m going to go to a show jumping competition soon – I’m really looking forward to it.”

Susan Murdoch, service manager at The Mane, is delighted that centre has been awarded the funding and said: “The Young Start funding will allow us to provide a member of staff over the weekend, which is vital for more young people like Aidan to get places in the group.

“We see the difference our activities make to the children and it’s incredible – the increased confidence and social skills and the pure happiness they get from being around the horses and learning new skills is fantastic.

“This funding will mean 100 additional young people will be able to access the group over the next three years – we’re overjoyed at the difference it’ll make to so many young lives.”

Dumfries and West

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