Newcastle charity, Stepney Bank Stables project given £6,400 cash boost from the North of Tyne Combined Authority and generous members of the community.
The project at the Ouseburn-based stables provides local teenagers with the chance to care for and ride horses – helping to increase their confidence and self-esteem and boost their health and wellbeing.
The training at Stepney Bank helps strengthen adolescents’ employment prospects, giving them structure and teaching them skills like time management.
Stables Manager, Sara Newson, said: “We operate an open-door policy. We get young people, from all walks of life, come together through a shared interest, creating unusual – and often lasting – friendships. The social mixing is a vital part of their learning.”
Eva, 12, and Sarah, 14, both completed their training earlier this month, after encouragement from their respective grandparents. The two girls have become firm friends as a result. “It was really good”, they said together, when asked about their experience.
For teenagers like Jess Ribton, 16, it gave her an opportunity to start mentoring more junior riders. She said: “You help younger kids who are less confident”.
“You watch people grow and develop around horses.”
Positive impact of horses
Stepney Bank staff believe it is clear the positive impact that spending time with horses can have on youngsters – particularly kids who might struggle to communicate with others.
In recent years mental health professionals have shown increased interest in working with and caring for horses as a form of therapy and support.
Sara Newson said: “We know from experience that being around horses can be a fantastic intervention for young people – especially those suffering from anxiety or with neurodiverse conditions that can affect communication skills”.
The funding from the NTCA’s crowdfunding scheme has come at a critical time for the stables, which has been a key feature of Ouseburn’s community for almost 25 years. Sara Newson said: “We were really struggling”, “Costs have shot up”.
North of Tyne Mayor
Jamie Driscoll elected Mayor for the North of Tyne recently visited the stables. He said: “Stepney Bank is clearly a special place. It’s a stables, of course, but it’s really all about the kids – their lives, their futures. Somewhere young people can be themselves, learn and share new skills, and form lasting friendships. Somewhere they feel safe.”
“I’m so glad we could contribute some cash to support Sara, her team, and the invaluable work they’re doing here.”
For more information about Stepney Bank Stables, visit: https://www.stepneybank.co.uk/
This article is based on a press release from North of Tyne Combined Authority