Young Carers are children aged 5-18 who look after parents or siblings with a range of issues including mental or physical illness, disability, and alcohol or substance misuse. Each carer’s circumstance is different but, regardless of the situation, looking after a loved one is a big responsibility that can lead to young carers becoming withdrawn and introverted.
Special 'Horse Ranger for the Day' events give the young carers an opportunity to take a break from their caring duties and experience what it is like to ‘own’ a horse for a day. Trying something new is a great way to help build their confidence and it also allows the children to share some time with other carers who are going through similar experiences.
We currently partner Richmond Carers and Kingston Carers for this programme and we have also had interest from groups. Subject to funding, we hope to continue to roll this out to more young carers.
Noshin Mohamed, a Young Carers Worker with Richmond Carers, explained “The holidays can become especially challenging for carers who become isolated at home. That is why it is so important for them to be able to take part in events and activities like the ’Horse-Ranger-for-a-Day’ at the Horse Rangers. It allows the children to share time with other carers who are going through similar experiences so they know that they are not alone."
"The day is particularly effective because it also gives the carers the opportunity to try something new. The responsibility of looking after a family member can lead to young carers becoming withdrawn and introverted, so doing something different is a great way to help build their confidence."
"One of our carers was going through a difficult time looking after a parent who was terminally ill. She was feeling frightened about the future and it was a big challenge for her to take part in the day – even entering the stable was a daunting experience. The volunteers were fantastic and helped her to overcome her initial fears so that she was able to groom and ride her horse. It was wonderful to see her self-belief and confidence grow as the day went on. She was able to prove to herself that she could rise to new challenges and is now looking forward to the next time."
"You do such an amazing job and make a huge difference to so many children and young people." Diane White, Co-ordinator Young Carers’ Project (Kingston)
"My son was lucky enough to be a Horse Ranger for the Day yesterday. He thoroughly enjoyed himself and hasn't stopped talking about the horse he rode! Please pass on my sincere thanks to all those involved in making it such a special day for him."