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Horses Opening Doors to improved mental health for our island community

Lauren Marshall and Sam Wilkins NH 3
Horses Opening Doors to improved mental health for our island community
13 April 2022

In July last year the Trust's Mental Health Charitable Funds awarded Bodster Equine Assisted Learning £10k for their Horses Opening Doors programme.

This funding has enabled them to build on their service working with people to help improve their self-esteem, wellbeing and mental health by being around ponies.

The community interest company is based in a beautiful location at Sandford Farm, and home to five ponies and one horse, where enable people to interact with their herd on the ground in a variety of different ways according to the participants’ needs - there is no riding involved!

The directors, Jo and Giles Boddington, offer a range of courses including Mindfulness and Developing Confidence sessions, plus either virtual or face-to-face sessions. If someone needs a one-to-one session, then this can also be arranged. 

People who visit Bodster, also get the opportunity to join the volunteering group that meet on Friday afternoons. This group have been erecting and repairing fencing and the group have also been doing some work to get the tranquil Sensory Garden ready for spring.

 Jo Boddington, Director Bodster CIC said:

“We really appreciate what this grant has offered us and the people who use our service. It has helped us reach people we may not have reached otherwise and hope it will enable people to find out more about what Bodster CIC does.”

People have the chance to have direct contact with the ponies, with many enjoying the chance to stroke them and simply be in their calming presence. To date over thirty people have benefited from this award, many of those attending these sessions struggle with anxiety, depression and social isolation and this experience helps them, to relax and enables them to connect with others going through similar experiences.

“I am owning my decisions and I’m more confident now when going into meetings. It has helped me slow down and the exposure to other people through Bodster has been great. “ Service user, Developing Confidence course 

Image above: Sam Wilkins and Lauren Marshall

Video: Sam Wilkins and Lauren Marshall talk about their experience of attending the sessions at Bodster CIC and Giles Boddington, Director at Bodster CIC shares information about the sessions and the impact they have on service users.

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