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(UK) Wiltshire: Local charity to use $7K grant for autism; 'demand has tripled'

July 20, 2021, White Horse News: Covid grant helps outdoor education centre cope with rising demand

South central England A CHARITY giving young people a second chance at education will be able to create extra space at its base to cope with rising demand thanks to a coronavirus fund grant. Wiltshire Equine Assisted Learning, which helps children and young people from six to 18 struggling with autism, ADHD, mental health issues or anxiety, has received £5,000 [$7K U.S.] from Wiltshire Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund. The charity says the grant will help it rent and renovate barns at its base at Stagwood Stables near Holt so its users have more space to learn after numbers have tripled in three years. … Demand is so high the charity has a waiting list of up to 20 at any one time. Three years ago it had just three staff, now it has nine and is looking to recruit two more.” Heather Watson added, “Demand has tripled because there are a lot of children out there who need this extra help. By the time the parents get to us they are desperate because they have been through a whole school system and their children are either permanently excluded or they are refusing to go in and they are in a terrible state. ... The charity says the centre’s approach is to allow its young users the time and space to understand and express their emotions and develop coping strategies to curb anger or anxiety. They work one-to-one with one of the staff for up to a whole day three days a week. The bond of trust that builds up between them allows the staff member to draw up a programme to either inspire them back into mainstream education or complete their education there. … Wiltshire Community Foundation joint chief executive Fiona Oliver said, “We are only able to help amazing groups like Wiltshire Equine Assisted Learning because of the generosity of donors who helped us distribute £1.5 million from the Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund. “As Heather has said, demand is still high for her group’s services and that is the case for the hundreds of groups we help through this and our other funds so we still need help to keep on meeting this need.”


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