A Derry based social enterprise which provides equine aided therapy has been shortlisted for the National Lottery ‘People’s Project’.
For the last two years, Equine Enrichment have been offering bespoke therapeutic and personal development programmes for individuals and groups from across the city.
The company now has the opportunity to secure £50,000 in funding from the annual ‘People’s Project’ run by the National Lottery to run two ten week programmes.
However, Equine Enrichment need help to secure the votes, as it relies on votes from members of the public.
Five projects from across the North have made the shortlist and Equine Enrichment is the only one in Derry and indeed the North West. Louise Moorhead, who has a background in psychology and counselling, has been passionate about horse riding since she was a child.
During her training, she came to realise that talking therapies are not the right approach for everyone and began to look at alternative therapies.
“Horses they have always been in my life and when I came across equine therapy and how horses have been helping people all around the world, I thought, I have to pursue this.”
Louise found an accredited organisation EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth & Learning Association) and began training.
She set up Equine Enrichment in January 2017, along with a team of highly trained experienced professionals and used her horse Buddy to promote mental well being.
“Horses make great companions for psychotherapy because they can mirror and respond to human behaviour,” Louise explained.
“I get great pleasure when I see people developing a bond with my horse Buddy. The people who come here make new friends not only among their peers, but also with the horses. They provide such a sense of calm and comfort to people experiencing stressful situations because they are very emotionally intelligent animals.”
The first programme run by Equine Enrichment received funding from the National Lottery ‘Awards for All’.
As a result of what they have done with the funding, and the approach they were taking, Equine Enrichment were asked to put together a proposal for the ‘People’s Project’.
Louise said that to win the public vote and the £50,000 funding would be ‘life changing’.“It will keep our doors open for a year and allow us to provide a ten week programme for children, young people, people with disabilities, older people and families which has wide ranging benefits.”
Louise urged everyone to support their bid for funding.
“Everyone says we need more mental health services in Derry. This is an innovative one that works for a range of ages.”
To vote go to: www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk/projects/view/h-o-p-e-for-communities