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Horses to help young carers recover from coronavirus stress

An equine therapy centre has created a new programme to help young carers recover from the stress of Covid-19.

Dorset-based Horserenity CIC is trying to raise funds to offer “free” places on the course for children and teenagers who have had to care for family members during the pandemic.

While restrictions have made the past months a difficult time for many people, young carers have been put under particular emotional pressure, while also having to cope with isolation.

Recent research conducted by the University of East Anglia found school-age carers were struggling with the loss of routine from being in lockdown. The in-depth interviews with 20 young people revealed they missed the respite offered by school, as well as some space to be themselves.

Kate Blake-Homes, who led the research, said that the increase of pressure and stress for young carers was “palpable” during many of the interviews.

Horserenity CIC’s director Sarah Vivian said: “We want to reach out to these amazing young people and have designed the programme to help them find some real time for themselves and express freely how these past months have made them feel.

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“We will be working with the therapy horses in the paddocks to achieve a sense of calm. We want to be able to provide the young carers with a space in which they can relax, reflect and smile again.”

Horserenity is hoping to offer equine facilitated learning courses to groups of young carers and will be fundraising to pay for the places with initiatives including a virtual art exhibition and sale.

Sarah, a level 4 advanced facilitator, qualified teacher and university lecturer, set up the centre four years ago with two fellow teachers.

They specialise in working with children, young people, and adults who are struggling with emotional trauma, anxiety and PTSD.

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