New horse riding venture at charity farm

A charity farm that specialises in riding for young people with special needs has opened its gates to able-bodied youngsters.

It’s a way to help raise much-needed funds and spread awareness of Futures Alternative Learning and ­Development Centre, at Broomhill Farm, Grindleton.

Futures, an alternative learning and development centre at Broomhill Farm, Clitheroe, is giving riding lessons to able bodied and special needs children.'Pictured are Megan Johnson (7), Katie Dakin (12), Madie Coop (5), Megan Ireland (17), Anissa Cross (7) and Keela Cross aged 13.

Futures, an alternative learning and development centre at Broomhill Farm, Clitheroe, is giving riding lessons to able bodied and special needs children.'Pictured are Megan Johnson (7), Katie Dakin (12), Madie Coop (5), Megan Ireland (17), Anissa Cross (7) and Keela Cross aged 13.

The first new intake of able-bodied children took to the ­saddle in the first of the new ­season’s riding ­lessons at the farm in Smalden Lane. They pay £17 for a 45-minute lesson on one of the centre’s horses and ponies, all specially picked for their docile nature.

“We’re now open to anybody, and we can cater for children from beginners through to advanced riders,” said Lauren Ramshaw, centre manager.

During the day, the charity centre provides supported day care for adults and young people, and provides riding mostly for youngsters from special needs schools in the Ribble Valley and elsewhere, who have autism, learning disabilities or other mental issues.

Then on a couple of days a week, after school, the able-bodied children can come and benefit from the expertise of the full-time and part-time staff.

We’re now open to anybody, and we can cater for children from beginners through to advanced riders

Lauren Ramshaw, centre manager.

The centre has also widened its activities to include pony parties where youngsters can celebrate with a ride followed by a party buffet. It all helps raise the money to keep everything going.

The centre helps steer people with disabilities towards independent living. The programme includes equine therapy, which involves developing skills by working with horses, and animal therapy with the farm’s other animals which include alpacas, rabbits, ferrets and miniature sheep.

Apart from the benefits of fresh air and interacting with animals, Futures is an ABC Learning Centre and service users can work towards some basic qualifications.

There’s also gardening therapy, called “Sow it, grow it, eat it.”

Lauren added: “We’ve been out asking local businesses for support, and some have kindly donated materials including a wheelbarrow, raised beds shovels and brushes.

“We have our volunteers, but we always need more people to help out.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about Futures Alternative Learning and Development Centre can email futures.alec
@hotmail.co.uk or phone 01200 440675.