Carluke pupils are saddling up for jobs

Students at Carluke High School are about ride off towards what could turn out to be a career as far from IT and computers as you could image.

Instead of being saddled with a job in front of a screen, they are being given some of the skills required to go for a future working with horses.

This is all thanks to a £5,000 grant given to Equitots Lanarkshire, a group which supports children with special educational needs.

The cash is being used to expand the group’s activities with youngsters with special educational needs within the mainstream education system and this will include two new initiatives involving youngsters attending Carluke High School.

One of the new projects is called Changing Lives Through Horses, a programme for Carluke High teenagers to study horse welfare and gain a qualification in equine care.

Pupils from the school will also be involved in the Forest Friends course.

This involves developing woodland survival skills such as shelter building and outdoor cooking.

The grant to make all this possible was awarded by financial service company OneFamily through its Foundation Community Grants.

The initiative gives OneFamily customers the chance to support the causes that matter to them most by nominating them to receive up to £5,000.

Equitots Lanarkshire was founded in 2017 by riding instructor Lee Valantine.

It now helps more than 80 children aged between three to 16 with complex learning needs, using horse-based activities to teach them new skills and support their emotional wellbeing.

The group was nominated for a Community Grant by Tracey Stone, whose child is a member of Equitots and who has a Child Trust Fund with OneFamily.

Said Lee, now director at Equitots: “The confidence we see these young people develop through working with horses is phenomenal and the effects can be genuinely life-changing.”