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Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit the Ebony Horse Club and meet the staff, volunteers, horses and more importantly the members.
The Club is sited in the most unlikely part of Brixton (London), in the middle of a housing estate. It is one of the most disadvantaged inner city neighbourhoods in the country and here is a historic legacy of under-achievement in schools, high rates of teenage pregnancy and negative stereotypes of young people, gang violence and drug related crime.
Ebony Horse Club has been in operation since 1996 and in its infancy its members would have to travel several miles to get the chance to see a horse in the flesh but in 2006, Planning Permission was granted for a Community Riding Centre. The same year, the Club became a registered charity and was finally officially opened in 2011 by the clubs President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. Currently over 140 young people visit the centre per week!
“There is a historic legacy of under-achievement in schools, high rates of teenage pregnancy and negative stereotypes of young people, gang violence and drug related crime.
Difficulty in entering the labour market results in high rates of unemployment and low aspirations amongst certain groups. This is all compounded by high rates of ill health amongst the population such as diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, mental and physical disabilities and other chronic conditions.
Young people living in this environment have little or no positive contact with animals, especially horses. They miss out on the opportunity to experience the enjoyment and sense of achievement that can be gained by learning to ride.
Ebony Horse Club provides the opportunity to think and gain new experiences outside the box of negative stereotypes - and to benefit from the powerful, life-changing influence that contact with horses can bring.
We offer much more than riding lessons, mentoring children who experience significant challenges at school and at home - challenges that can profoundly affect their ability to achieve later in life.
Through the support and experiences members have at Ebony, all are encouraged to exceed their own expectations, and many are inspired to go on to college, university or horse-related careers.”
For me to meet some of these young people who clearly enjoyed the environment that the Ebony Horse Club offers was an absolute honour and left me thinking, “How can I help?”
Obviously, a charity such as this could not exist without monetary donations. However, these youngsters need opportunities. With knife and gun crime being a regular headline in the media presently, anything that could give these youngsters an inspiration to ‘break the trend’ is hugely important.
I really think that it is very important to spread the word about the great work that is going on at the Club, but also, I would ask anyone who may have ideas, or who could make a donation to please contact me.(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Donate to: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NickTurner13
I was incredibly interested in the interview of Olympic Super G skier, Menna Fitzpatrick following her bronze winning performance today!
Obviously the silver medal won by her team mate, Millie Knight was an outstanding achievement as both girls (and the many other athletes) who met the challenge of the downhill for visually impaired skiers.
Not only do both of these teenagers with 5% vision put their trust in their guide/partners Jen Kehoe & Brett Wild, but have immense confidence in their own skiing abilities.
Whilst being amazingly impressed (and proud as a #TeamGB supporter), the post result interview flagged up not just the focus and resilience of these two girls but the importance of self belief.
The reason that I was most interested in the achievement of Menna's bronze medal performance was that she had a less than fortunate day previously in the Downhill, where she had a significant "wipe-out". Menna admitted to spending valuable time with the Team Psych after this less than successful experience, and that jointly they had visited the feelings that Menna was likely to feel before here next race... anxiety, nervousness and fear.
So why did I choose to highlight this?
We all in our own ways, face challenges in our lives and Menna Fitzpatrick demonstrated that not only does she face day-to-day social and lifestyle challenges due to her disability. She showed that by confronting her demons of failure and refocusing on the new challenge ahead, anything is possible.
Never give up on your goals and dreams!