Groom2Grow

Help us save more horses and help more people...

add a new philanthropy strand to your business - show you care about kindness and compassion


Six good reasons why you should.

1. Show you’re willing to champion a worthy local cause

2. You’ll support rescued horses and empower people in a unique way

3. Your employees will recognise and appreciate your goodwill and support for their local community

4. There’ll be opportunities for life-changing news stories your business helped make possible

5. Good team building opportunities for your employees

6. Help a worthy cause on your doorstep and make a difference to the local community.

If your business doesn’t support a charity, this Q&A summary might change your mind.

First of all, what is Groom2Grow?

This specifically equine talent has started to become a focus for research within many mental health organisations, who are finding surprising benefits from interaction with horses. This can be complex and analytical through carefully developed equine therapy sessions using a specially trained psychologist. Here at Only Foals and Horses, it can be as simple as spending time touching, stroking and brushing a horse.

Groom2Grow is a “brand” we’ve created while trialling our sessions with an NHS Foundation Trust and Carers Link UK. A session is a carefully structured programme of controlled interaction, including basic horse handling, that makes people and horses feel better.

We rescue horses from all sorts of despair and we’ve observed that some of our horses bond incredibly well with people who share, or understand, similar despair. Like the 1-in10 young people who believe their lives will amount to nothing no matter how hard they try.

Outcomes strongly suggest that people “feel better around horses” and better about themselves. Post-trial, participants report higher self-esteem and improved communication skills, among other benefits. Our horses enjoy the extra TLC they’re getting.

How would Groom2Grow impact on our business reputation? We’re not remotely involved with horses.

Concentrate on “to grow.” Our horses are facilitators, and remarkably forgiving of people, considering some of their backgrounds. They are non-judgemental, don’t speak, don’t create personality clashes and tend to hold attention spans of individuals for longer.

They mirror people’s moods, emotions and actions, and in this way people learn about themselves and their body language, how to respond to situations, and to be more controlled.

By sponsoring a groom2Grow programme, your business is enabling rescued horses to fulfil a purpose and enjoy a better quality of life; showing compassion, and helping horses to empower people in a novel way.

Frequently-posted flyers on our notice board support people’s charities like cancer research. How would a horse charity rate alongside these?

It’s not usually a case of “either or.” Most people have a personal or family reason for supporting a major health charity and that’s fine. But Brits love their pets and animals, and a sanctuary like ours offers a quirky alternative to the mainstream charity's.

Many people want to volunteer to help a charity but can’t find time, or are scared to try something new on their own. We can provide lots of stories – happy, sad and inspirational – for your notice board and before long your employees will be wanting to volunteer for us. Good team building opportunities!

How could it affect our standing in the community?
You may find your employees walking taller and taking pride in “owning” your community initiative. They may even start fund-raising initiatives of their own, which again leads back to team-building, motivation and morale.
Will there be networking opportunities, as with much bigger charities?

Yes, but they are more subtle. Being part of a charity like ours means you can meet other organisations who support us or use our services, such as L’Oreal, the NHS, The Prince’s Trust and Carer’s Link UK – and as Groom2Grow develops this list will keep on growing.

You could get meaningful exposure in areas you would not normally expect, and the potential for other philanthropic or business opportunities, such as awards sponsorship.

This specifically equine talent has started to become a focus for research within many mental health organisations, who are finding surprising benefits from interaction with horses. This can be complex and analytical through carefully developed equine therapy sessions using a specially trained psychologist. Here at Only Foals and Horses, it can be as simple as spending time touching, stroking and brushing a horse.

Our Wellbeing initiative is a strategic move to open new funding channels.

To secure grant funding, our bids must demonstrate a benefit to the community, and prove there is a need.

Early outreach to organisations across East Lancashire for disadvantaged young people and the mentally ill, tells us there is a need.

The exact reason why horses are so good at helping people is not fully understood. It might be that the horse, as a prey animal, naturally sees us as a threatening predator. In order to gain leadership and trust from the horse we must control our own emotional and physical state.

Throughout the process of learning this self-awareness, the horse mirrors our state very precisely - if we are anxious, then the horse is anxious. By working on releasing tension in the horse we are inadvertently working on ourselves. And then the magic really begins - the horse willingly accepts us as a leader and when the connection is truly deep they will even match our footsteps around an arena. It is a truly remarkable, emotional journey to be trusted so deeply, followed as a worthy leader by an animal who has the choice to leave at any time.

Embracing the local community in a caring environment

People of all ages and abilities can experience and benefit from the power of horse healing. We already run a programme for a group with mental disability, who come to us for camaraderie, team work and a fully supported integration into the outside world as part of their preparation for living independently. We are proud that they continue to attend, every week, regardless of the weather which can be harsh and unforgiving up on our hillside through the winter.

We have also provided regular Work Placements for disadvantaged young adults who struggle to find opportunities to develop key workplace skills. These young men and women become part of the Yard Team and are assigned tasks. with diminishing direct supervision. They are given opportunities to handle horses, observe vet and farrier visits, assist with feed preparation and other basic stable tasks. They also interact with horses on a regular basis so that they develop greater self-confidence and a belief in their own self-worth.

Groom2Grow: self-awareness, control of emotions, trust and leadership.

Currently we offer several courses within the developing Groom2Grow portfolio. But it all began with a pilot project designed for our regular disability group, mainly men, who come and enjoy the physical work of mucking out, feeding and barrowing. Alongside our regular stable team, they are part of a hard working crew, which they appreciate, but more importantly the men have a keen awareness that they are helping the horses, and feel “needed.”

This group eagerly volunteered to “test” our equine wellbeing pilot project, and elevate their experience from physical labouring to being trained in the more subtle aspects of horse handling and equine knowledge. This particular group has been longing to do more with and for our horses; their enthusiasm helped to make this pilot programme a resounding success for the men and for the Sanctuary, culminating in an assessment and Finale Show in which the horses were taken through a set of tasks in an outdoor arena.

From this single event, the Groom2Grow project developed to incorporate a portfolio of courses which can be adapted to suit any level of ability from special schools to mainstream education or disadvantaged young adults.

Anyone can take part, no matter how nervous they are around animals, and regardless of their previous experience.

Each course offers opportunities to develop skills such as self-awareness, control of emotions, trust and leadership.

Sponsorship for Groom2Grow course: Your Business Benefits
  • Likely media exposure/positive PR across the region and beyond
  • ‘Good Neighbour, Good Citizen’ status in the region
  • Support and approval of employees, partners and customers
  • Stakeholder/shareholder ‘approval / buy-in’
  • Opportunity to meet other support organisations such as The Prince’s Trust, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Foundation Trust
  • Good Cause-related marketing and networking
Courses To Sponsor Currently:
  • Wellbeing (calmness and inner peace)
  • Work Skills (skill-building, goal-setting, teamwork. On completion, the Sanctuary can be used as a Referee for CVs and job applications)
  • Mentoring (improved self-worth and co-leadership)
  • Volunteering (making a difference)

By supporting one of our Wellbeing initiatives as a Business Sponsor, your company will be:

  • investing in three good causes – vulnerable people, rescued animals and the local community
  • likely to gain favourable exposure from a wide and receptive audience
  • helping people develop greater self confidence, learn to love themselves, be trusted, work as part of a team or just simply feel good about life again!
Why Our Sanctuary Is A Special Place

We hosted a group of young adults on a course delivered by The Prince’s Trust-Accrington and Rossendale Fire and Rescue Service. The course taught life-skills to improve employment prospects for eighteen young adults who helped to renovate the Sanctuary’s Tea Room.

This summer, our stable team and horses helped 24-year old Thomas Walsh after his referral from the Police Community Support Officer to the Prince’s Trust- Hyndburn Fire and Rescue Service, and on to Only Foals and Horses Sanctuary for a Work Placement. He became part of the Yard Team and was assigned tasks with diminishing direct supervision. He handled horses, observed vet and farrier visits, assisted with feed preparation and other routine stable tasks.

We recently hosted a second group of young adults from The Prince’s Trust-Hyndburn Fire and Rescue Service at the Sanctuary, about to complete our first-ever Children’s Corner, a new set of stables specially designed to accommodate our smallest ponies and our youngest visitors.

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