Lotto cash aid to pony char­ity

MSP im­pressed by work

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE - Gary Fan­ning

A char­ity which uses ponies to help dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren has been praised by an MSP.

Tory MSP Gra­ham Simp­son vis­ited Ponies Help Chil­dren, near Kirk O’Shotts, af­ter they won Na­tional Lot­tery fund­ing of over £8000.

Heather Stephens and her mum Moira Ire­land, who run the char­ity from Blair­mains Farm, told the Cen­tral Scot­land Con­ser­va­tive about the twofold as­pect of res­cu­ing abused and ne­glected ponies and also giv­ing chil­dren from a va­ri­ety of back­grounds a place where they can en­gage with ponies in a safe and quiet en­vi­ron­ment.

Mr Simp­son was pleased to see the great work be­ing done by the char­ity.

He said: “It was great to get along to see the great work be­ing done by Ponies Help Chil­dren for my­self.

“The con­cept of us­ing ponies to help young­sters who suf­fer from with a whole va­ri­ety of is­sues is a fan­tas­tic one.

“I saw first- hand the bril­liant work be­ing done with one of the young lads called James.

“He showed me how to groom the an­i­mals and told me how much he was en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Heather ex­plained how be­ing around the ponies has made a big dif­fer­ence to James and the other young­sters who come to them for help.

“She said many of the chil­dren have a very chal­leng­ing and, at times, chaotic fam­ily life.

“Just be­ing near the ponies has an in­stant, calm­ing ef­fect.

“Moira also told me of one young­ster who had rarely talked be­fore her first visit, but left be­ing able to say a few words, which left her mother near to tears.

“Since then the child has come on leaps and bounds and it’s all credit to the vi­sion Heather and Moira have had when they cre­ated the char­ity.

“Not only do the chil­dren ben­e­fit, but the ponies do too.

“Many of them suf­fered ap­palling abuse be­fore be­ing res­cued by the char­ity and are bond­ing with the chil­dren and get­ting their trust in peo­ple back.

“The work done by Ponies Help Chil­dren has been recog­nised by many char­i­ties and also by

Muck­ing in MSP Gra­ham at the Ponies Help Chil­dren base

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