AN ORGANISATION based on Dryden Farm near Selkirk where small group activities are provided for children who aren’t engaging successfully at school has been awarded a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Stable Life aims to improve confidence and self-esteem, help children develop social skills and manage problematic behaviour.

It also supports children to make healthy life choices, teach good citizenship, improve health and well-being and prepare children and young people to engage successfully with mainstream education and other services.

Thanks to a grant of £120,000 from The National Lottery, the charity which launched in 1982 is able to harness the healing power of horses and provide Equine Assisted Learning to children and young people aged 10 to 18 with a range of social, emotional and behavioural issues.

Team Leader at the project, Cindy Davie, said: “A lot of the time, children are being referred because of issues through school and they don't particularly feel comfortable sitting and talking with people who are in their school.

“What we do is all about how to feel connection – we work with a lot of children who have experienced some sort of attachment disorder or trauma within their childhood. A lot of young people don't trust other people, but they will trust the animals.

“Just for them to be able to be around and have that sensory stuff - brushing their mane and their tail or grooming the ponies – makes a big difference for them feeling an emotional connection with the animals and gives them a sense of calm and purpose – it’s life changing for young people to experience that.

“Horses are expensive animals! They're really well looked after and we have quite a few ponies here that we can offer young people of different needs.

“If we didn't have the funding from the National Lottery to support that, then it would massively have narrowed what we'd be able to do – they have been crucial to help these young people in life.”

Over the last five years alone, The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded more than £17 million to around almost 200 animal-related projects across the UK which support people most in need.

To find out more about how The National Lottery supports good causes throughout the UK, visit