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"Virtual" Pony sessions to improve "Mental health"

by Jo Boddington in Sandford, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 21st April 2020 we successfully raised £2,018 with 13 supporters in 154 days

Due to the Coronovirus we've adjusted our project as people can't come in person but are anxious so we want to offer "Virtual" pony sessions

by Jo Boddington in Sandford, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

The extra money will mean we can continue our project for longer and also offer learners more volunteering opportunities at the centre and we will be able to buy more equipment to develop the centre and possibly even a quadbike to help us access the facilities better as at present we rely on a wheelbarrow and manpower - such a quadbike may also help with access if we can help learners access our site on it better too

  Project change due to Coronovirus Lock down - Virtual sessions on offer for now!

Our original plan was to run a project to empower people with mental health issues/ depression to lead sessions as peer mentors to other learners and  carers, parents and family and help them regain self-confidence re-engaging them into society enabling them to feel they are giving something back to society by the contribution they make. 

Due to the Coronovirus people can not come in person and so we are adjusting our project to be able to offer people who are depressed/ anxious to come "virtually" to Bodster CIC via Facetime / Skype.  Below is an example of the sort of things we do on the Isle of Wight

Project Plan 

Bodster Equine Assisted Learning C.I.C. has set up a “Virtual Sessions” area to support people who can not attend face to face sessions due to Coronavirus. We aim to also continue these sessions in the future for people who are unable to attend, for whatever reasons in order to continue “ virtual” contact with our ponies.

Our Mission is to help people who have often come to a point where they are anxious and feel disillusioned to develop their communication and observation skills and we will, through this “ Virtual Sessions” area offer ideas to help you through “Mindfulness” activities, videos of the ponies and nature at Bodster C.I.C. and through other resources.

At present we can only offer sessions via these Virtual sessions. We at present need funds to cover staff costs to run these sessions for our learners who are at home and can not get out and are feeling anxious and so during these sessions can talk about their worries and spend time relaxing through the lens with our ponies in this lovely setting.

During the Virtual session we will show you round, you can still spend time with the ponies just through the camera lens, we can play games with the ponies which you can lead by giving us verbal directions and we can show you some Natural horsemanship exercises and we can also talk to you and give you some Mindfulness type exercises to try during this period of Lockdown.

This fund will also help to pay for staff funds in the future after the Coronovirus Lock down period is over.

We would still in the future aim to train 8 learners (with mental health /depression issues themselves) to become Peer Mentors to 10 new learners who once things return to normal would complete an NOCN level 1 accredited course called, “ Improving Assertiveness and  Decision Making.” where they would look at aspects such as :- contributing to discussions, understanding how to be assertive and negotiation skills. 

         The 8 learners would then join some group sessions to work with other learners at Bodster alongside carers, parents and family of those with mental health issues through nature sessions and develop a “Sensory Garden.” 

The project will include developing our facilities to make them more accessible to learners with physical issues.

Bodster CIC testimonial – from a learner who took part in our “Developing Confidence” OCN Level 1 course.

“I would recommend Bodsters to anyone who is struggling. Jo and Giles have created a supportive atmosphere where you are encouraged to challenge yourself (gently) and then recognise your achievement – which really helps to build confidence. The ponies (and Spenny the horse) are so gentle and really help you to regulate your energy and to relax. You will be encouraged to gradually start to challenge your thought patterns and to shed any negativity you are holding onto. When I first arrived at the, by the way stunningly beautiful, site I felt absolutely directionless and my confidence was as low as it’s been but I am leaving with much more clarity and starting to feel like me again.” 

By Learner K


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Free 1/2 hr session at bodster CIC

£500 or more

0 of 6 claimed

£500 Reward

a whole day's experience at Bodster CIC

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