AMURT NW works in some of Liverpool's most deprived neighbourhoods where rates of child poverty are at their highest. This programme will give 480 children from disadvantaged families the opportunity to work with ponies and experience some of the benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy. Animal Assisted Therapy can improve mental health and tackle feelings of isolation. It teaches children empathy, patience, responsibility, self worth, social skills and confidence.
Liverpool is ranked 4th most deprived local authority in England, and children where we work experience high levels of child poverty. Children living in deprived areas are statistically more at risk of falling into criminality. 874 criminal offences were committed by children aged 10-17 in Liverpool in 2017. Children with disabilities also lack funding and support, they are more likely to experience isolation and are twice as likely to be bullied than other children.
Children aged 4-12 years will have the opportunity to work with ponies in partnership with Park Palace Ponies - grooming, feeding, mucking out and riding. Our plan is that in this initial stage of the project the maximum number of children will be able to experience what it is like to be around and work with ponies. After this initial stage we will identify the children most in need and develop a more in depth programme where these children can experience the benefits of longer term contact.
Our experience is that working with animals can help children in a myriad of, sometimes unexpected, ways. One of our volunteers worked with Michael, a 7 year old autistic child who was able to relax and open up in the presence of the horse and eventually started speaking. Another volunteer experienced one teenager with very challenging behaviour transform into a caring and socially well adjusted boy after working with horses.