Equine therapy charity scoops huge Lotto windfall

By Ginny Ware   |   Totnes Reporter   |
Tuesday 30th November 2021 10:30 am
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Totnes MP Anthony Mangnall (third right) celebrates Sirona’s Lotto windfall with (left to right) Sarah Urwin, Dr. Hannah Burgon, Mark Richardson, Sally Croft, Kim Armstrong and Laurel Ellis.

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Dartington-based Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship has received a windfall Lotto grant to help young people and adults with additional needs.

The charity, which provides equine and animal-assisted therapy and learning, has scooped a grant of £150,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Sirona will use the funds to boost the number of participants and provide a wider range of sessions.

It will also allow Sirona to create new supported volunteer and work experience groups, where young people and adults with additional support needs can come to help out with the horses, other animals and around the yard, while being supported by staff.

Founded by Dr Hannah Burgon in 2012, the charity is staffed by a team of qualified practioners, dedicated volunteers and a small herd of specially trained horses and ponies.

Being out in nature and with the animals is therapeutic in itself and this, along with learning new skills and building relationships, helps increase self-confidence and resilience among those who attend the charity’s sessions, she said.

Hannah added: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way.

“Now we will be able to press on with our plans to broaden the range of opportunities available at Sirona to local young people and adults with additional support needs.

“This is important because it helps participants learn new skills, increase their confidence and self-esteem, as well as reducing social isolation.

“All of this can support better life outcomes.”

Totnes MP Anthony Mangnall encouraged other local groups to consider applying for Lotto funding.

After visiting the charity, he said: “It’s fantastic to hear about how this project is using National Lottery funding to provide equine therapy for young people and those with additional needs.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, these inspirational groups are supporting people and communities in our area to prosper and thrive.

“This money is enabling local priorities to be addressed by local people and I want to encourage anybody in Totnes with a great idea for a community project to think about National Lottery funding too.”

A young person who attends Sirona said: “I feel different when I’m with the horses.

“I have ADHD so I’m like a driven motor, but when I’m with the horses I can actually breathe and think.”

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