Rachel Adams makes an incredible difference through equine assisted youth work!

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Rachel Adams makes an incredible difference through equine assisted youth work!

PRIME Cymru client, Rachel Adams, is doing incredible work with her ‘Coeden Bywyd Horse Project’. The project works with young people and a small herd of rescued horses and ponies, offering mentoring and well-being sessions to some of the most vulnerable young people in the community. Rachel refers to the work as equine assisted youth work!  

From an early age Rachel always loved horses, she took a small break from keeping horses whilst raising her family, before regaining her passion in more recent years. Rachel volunteered for 15 years as a youth worker, gaining a lot of experience with young people who struggle with emotional and behavioural problems. It was during her time volunteering that Rachel had the spark of her idea for equine assisted youth work. “A friend of mine knew a young girl who was struggling with depression, who showed little interest in anything other than horses. My friend asked if I could introduce her to my horses, and perhaps in the process get her to open-up about what was on her mind, given my experience in youth work. The difference I saw in the young girl when she was around the horses was amazing, and I knew then that horses could make a real impact with young people.” Rachel now sees this reaction echoed in the young people who attend the project, topics they usually wouldn’t open-up about in counselling, they talk freely about when with the horses. It seems to allow the young people to process their emotions without the pressure.  

The Coeden Bywyd Horse Project not only helps young people, but also use rescue horses for their work. The horses come from a range of backgrounds, sadly a lot of them have been mistreated or abused until they were rescued. The young people that attend the project seem to have an instinctual connection to these horses, being able to relate to the emotions of the animal gives them an insight into what the horse needs. The ability to relate to the horses also allows them to identify how things that have happened to them have affected them.    

When beginning her project, Rachel felt she could benefit from some advice on setting up the business. A friend of hers recommended PRIME Cymru, Rachel reached out and got in contact with a Development Officer, Debbie Price, who quickly put her in contact with her mentor, Russell Gibbon. Russell and Rachel keep in regular contact, with Russell often getting in touch with recommendations for funding opportunities. Most recently Russell recommended that Rachel apply for lottery funding, which the project then received. The funding has made an incredible difference, allowing Rachel to continue to run her after school sessions free of charge to the young people.

Rachel said “Russell is a great mentor; he challenges me and always seems to ask the right questions. He has a great way of pulling together all my random thoughts and ideas and organising them for me.”

“Rachel´s work is essential, necessary and deeply inspiring. Very, very few people offer anything remotely like what Rachel is offering. This project is magnificent. It has been stimulating and a pleasure for me, helping Rachel to think through how she communicates her working, to audiences that have little or no clue about the problems that many young people are facing today (or about horses!) and how creating a special space for tlc between the two is a win-win, in the skilled hands of someone like Rachel.” Russell Gibbon

The Coeden Bywyd Horse Project is based in Pontrhydyfen, Neath. If you’d like to know more about the project and how to get involved, then you can get in touch via Facebook or email: coedenbywyd@gmail.com 

Thinking of starting your own business? Or maybe you’ve already started to explore the possibility of becoming self-employed, but need a little extra guidance? PRIME Cymru can help. Give us a call on 01550 721813 or pop us an email: enquiries@primecymru.co.uk  


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