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The Prince’s Trust in association with the Accross Team from Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service used Only Foals and Horses Sanctuary to successfully deliver a life-skills programme to a group of eighteen young people from East Lancashire this year.

Given a choice of several local projects to work on as part of The Prince’s Trust Team programme, the group opted to help renovate the Tea Room and out buildings at the Sanctuary.

“Eighty percent of people who complete a Team programme go on to a positive future in education, employment or further training”, said Paul Kilham of The Prince’s Trust.

“The great thing about a team is that it draws people from different backgrounds and pushes them outside their comfort zones while at the same time giving something back to the community.

The Prince’s Trust has worked successfully with the Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service to deliver our programmes for many years. Both serving and retired fire officers are able to instil authority and discipline effectively and without residual prejudice.”

The programme at Only Foals and Horses Sanctuary was designed to boost confidence and team skills for the group of 16-25 year olds. Ms Aly-Joy Howarth MBE, of Accrington Fire Station (now based in Burnley) was Team Leader. Ms Howarth (31) was honoured for bravery while serving with the British Army in Sierra Leone.

“People who have little or no work experience can pick up valuable skills from other team members who have trade, DIY or other knowledge to pass on. Working under supervision at the Sanctuary, this group acquired painting and basic DIY skills towards a nationally recognised qualification.”

Mr Kilham said that during the course of any programme, issues would inevitably come to the surface but they would be confronted firmly but fairly. This enables participants to learn how to work in a team to achieve a common goal, which is so important in employment and education.

“Ms Howarth is a highly credible and inspiring role model, and her success with this particular programme was outstanding. Her objective was to ensure that each team member bonded with the rest of the group and worked towards the execution of one overall goal.”

All eighteen participants gave a short presentation in the newly-renovated tea room outlining their individual tasks and achievements at a “hand-over” ceremony attended by the former Mayor of Accrington.

“On every programme there will be measurable shifts in perceptions,” said Ms Howarth. “Almost every individual starts out with some degree of negativity or inertia, but the programme is designed to overcome this by combining classroom –based workshops with hands-on activity on-site. Every participant leaves the programme better equipped.”

Speaking on behalf of Only Foals and Horses Sanctuary, Stewart Mackay, chairman of the board of trustees, commented:

“For the Sanctuary to benefit young people in such a positive and practical way is critical to its survival within the community.The transformation that these young people made to our tea room was quite remarkable, and for us to know that they have left the programme better equipped to face their own futures is exceptionally rewarding.We look forward with enthusiasm to working alongside The Prince’s Trust, and Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service in future.”

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