Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) has launched a new grant scheme allowing children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to access half price horse therapy sessions.

The scheme will be available to those living in Somerset, East Devon or North Dorset and hopes to provide more young people with SEND the opportunity to access the therapy, which has a whole host of benefits.

The grants from the Horseshoes and Handprints Fund will cover 50% of the cost of a course of horse therapy sessions up to a maximum of £250.

SCF say that horse therapy is beneficial for people with SEND because horses have similar social and responsive behaviours to humans and give immediate feedback, making it easier to create a connection with them. Horses can also mirror the feelings of the handler or rider and their large appearance can help develop trust and self-confidence.

Horse therapy can better speech and communication and improve memory and attention span 

Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation, explains: “Horse therapy - or equine assisted therapy - is provided in a horse-based environment to promote physical, occupational, and emotional growth for people with needs arising from, for example, ADHD, anxiety, autism, Cerebral Palsy, dementia, depression, developmental delay, PDA, Down Syndrome, brain injuries and behavioural or abuse issues.”

"Close contact and interaction with horses is highly sensory and there are a variety of horse therapy providers in Somerset. Benefits for the users are many, including better speech and communication, improved memory and attention span, greater confidence, and a happier family environment."

The Horseshoes and Handprints Fund is open to applications until Friday 5 November 2021. Applications will be considered if you:

  • are aged under 18, or if you have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) up to age 25;
  • live in Somerset (not North Somerset or BANES), East Devon or North Dorset at the date of application;
  • have a special educational need (for example a learning disability, mental health problem, poor emotional wellbeing or neurological disorders);
  • want to use the grant for a course of horse therapy sessions;
  • are applying for up to 50% of the cost of a course of horse therapy sessions, (typically 10 sessions) and up to a maximum of £250;
  • can provide a reference from an education or health professional in support of your application.

 

To find out more about how the Fund may be able to help you, or to support the Fund, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/grantfunding/grants-individuals/horseshoes-and-handprints-grants or call 01749 344949 and ask to speak to Programmes Manager, Kirsty Campbell.