Thurrock Young Carers is a charitable organisation which supports young people who care for a family member. They may care for someone with a disability, additional needs, long term illness, mental health issues or drug and alcohol misuse. The charity supports young people aged 8-18 and provides them with respite activities, giving them a break from their caring role and the opportunity to meet new friends.
In April, the young carers went on a trip to the stables to take part in an “Own a Pony Day” in which 22 young carers experienced what it is like to take care of a pony. The trip was funded by a Small Grant awarded to the charity by the Jack Petchey Foundation.
The young people began the day by mucking out the stables, and saw first-hand that owning a pony is hard work; however by working together as a team they got the job done a lot quicker. They then learnt how to groom their horses properly, including brushing their mane and cleaning out the hooves. One young carer said that this was her favourite part of the day as she got plenty of chances to hug her pony.
But of course, the most popular activity of the day was the horse riding lessons. They all got the chance to ride the horses, getting them to trot and even played games with them. The young carers said that it was a “brilliant day” in which they got to have fun and learn new skills. Trips such as these allow the young people to have new experiences which they may not have had the opportunity to do because of their caring role. The funding from the Jack Petchey Foundation is vital as a lot of the young carers come from families with low incomes, often due to their difficult circumstances. The Young Carers had been requesting horse riding as one of their weekly activities for a long time and the Small Grant meant that they were finally able to do it.
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