A sanctuary in Leicestershire which uses rescued horses to help people suffering from learning difficulties and mental health problems, may have to close if a new location isn’t found within the next month.
The centre in Markfield, has 8 rescued horses, and is run by Judith Edwards who rents the site from a charity. Last year, they told her they needed the land back by the end of April.
“We’ve known for about a year now that we need to leave, and we’ve worked none stop for that whole year to try and find some more land to work to operate from and we’ve still not been successful”
“I have actually sold my house, we’re living in a friend’s conservatory. I have sold my house so that if I need cash to buy land, I’ve got the cash, that’s how desperate we are at the minute”.
“We need roughly about 7 -10 acres, we’re just looking for someone to help us to keep this place going” said Mrs Edwards.
MP for Bosworth, David Tredinnick, who supports alternative therapies such as those used at the centre said, “This is a very important asset and I would expect in a county such as Leicestershire and we’re 5 miles away from from Quorn here, that somebody out in the equestrian community could come up with some help in terms of land in the short term while we try and resolve these issues with the council for Judith and her school”
Speaking about the work that the centre does with people with illness Judith said, “We work with children and adults with all problems, sometimes we get really really nervous children and then we gradually introduce them to the horses and then we see how they progress and get them brushing them and then eventually leading them”
“we’ve had some wonderful outcomes, we’ve had really poorly children that have been so depressed, have moved on and now are looking for a career with horses, so we have given them a future”
Jessica, Hannah and Adam who were visiting the centre from Maplewell Hill School in Woodhouse Eaves, said, “The best thing about this horse centre is the horses and getting to look after them because you don’t get to do that every single day”.
“I feel really relaxed and not being stressed at school”
“I like brushing the horses it’s my favourite thing coming here”
Helen Thirlby, a learning support assistant at the school says, “I think it would be tragic for all the young people that this place helps, it boosts people confidence there self esteem, teaches them about their place in the world and how other people react to them and it could literally change peoples lives”
“A lot of these children have difficulties in the classroom, it’s a stressful place, coming up here in this environment, where everyone is on a level playing field, they can forget all of their worries, and follow the rules up here, the horses react to them, it’s just a totally different experience for them.
MP David Tredinnick added, “its wonderful what Judith has done here, she’s put together an animal sanctuary which is helping humans, and humans which are helping horses”
“When we have a situation where people have issues that conventional medical doctors find difficult to treat, it’s wonderful to have these alternatives and here you have autistic and disabled people learning how to overcome their problems through an association with horses and all the horses have been rescued in the first place, it’s exactly the kind of support service we need in the future, we have to think of a wider landscape in terms of healthcare and this should be part of it”.