Christopher’s Choice is a unique organisation that aims to support children and their families who are struggling with their mental health and additional needs, by using Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy, woodland experiences and family centred support.
The Inside and Outside Project
The Inside and Outside project is to fund a property and land to start an Outside Therapy Centre for children
The Inside and Outside campaign.
Christopher’s Choice would like to launch the ‘Inside and Outside‘ campaign’ which is ready to accept funding immediately so we can make an offer on a property to open and operate an Outdoor Children’s Therapy Centre. We currently support many families dealing with additional needs and those struggling with mental health. The families who visit us use support with our ponies and woodland experiences with forest school activities. The ponies provide individual friendships with each member of the family and we do a whole range of activities with them. This can include leading, riding, grooming, spending time with the ponies, learning about them, games, plaiting, balance, focus and many more things. Every young person has an individual need in their support and no two families are the same. Even with a similar diagnosis does not mean that they experience the same challenges, neither does it mean that they see the world from the same view as others. Every young person and their family has a different experience when they are with us. Our ethos is that we support the whole family rather than just the young person with additional needs. The whole family matter and also all experience the world in different ways. Every member of the family is treated as an individual. Our ponies are there in whatever way they are needed to be. If they are not getting a positive experience from visiting us then there would be no point in us doing this.
We are currently supporting close to 100 families and it grows everyday. We have to expand and we need the property so that we can do this.
This centre will be set up to provide professional support for children and their families with onsite therapists, trained forest school workers and professional animal handlers. We are not setting up our centre to be a farm, but instead, one that provides proffessional support. The pandemic has increased child mental health challenges to a point that it is now at a very high level, with mental health services suffering with long waiting lists leaving children and young people without the help that they so desperately need.
Our video explains a small amount, but we need funding. Without this, we can go no further. We have found the property we want and we have to find a financial backer to help us make an offer. Do you know someone who could help us? Could you share our information with other people? Any support is welcomed and we are so grateful.
What we want:
We want to progress to opening a Children’s outdoor therapy centre focused on;
Equine assisted therapy,
Animal Assisted therapy
Family centred support
Who is this for?
We will be supporting Young people and their families with additional needs and mental health challenges
These are families who have children and/or young people that have additional needs through behaviour, learning, neurological disorders, mental health and any neurodivergent issues.
Why are we doing this?
Equine assisted therapy
Equine assisted therapy is a recognised subject that supports a persons psychological and physical wellbeing in a number of ways.
Research shows that people experience many physiological and psychological benefits by interacting with horses, including lower blood pressure and heart rate, higher beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters acting as pain suppressors), decreased stress levels, decreased feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, better social working; and greater feelings of empowerment, confidence, patience and self efficacy.
The increase in the need for this support to children and their families with additional needs and mental health challenges is huge and with the pressure on mental health services struggling to support those that need it the most, we believe we are and can offer more of this support to those that need it. We are already overrun by requests for our service and believe in supporting members of the whole family. We are very much providing family centred support which caters for all the individual needs of each family member. Siblings, parents and any close family member who needs support, does so in their own way. The support does not stop with children with additional needs or who are classed as neurodivergent. The term “neurodivergent” describes people whose brain differences affect how their brain works. That means they have different strengths and challenges from people whose brains don’t have those differences. The possible differences include medical disorders, learning disabilities and other conditions.
This is why we would like to have the ability to provide support with family support therapists and councillors on site if needed, Equine and other animal assisted therapy and forest school activities. These are all catered for individual needs. We want to make use of outside buildings that can be used for family accommodation if a family would benefit from a short stay by staying together in one place yet being able to access support on different levels when and if needed. It is not uncommon for us to be supporting families who have more than one child and even their caregiver having either a diagnosis or displaying symptoms of being neurodivergent. We also support families who are coping with grief, childhood bullying, self harm and many more mental health issues. We want to be able to be there on all different levels and the support that they want and need.
Forest school activities
Research now backs up what forest school practitioners have known all along – that children and young people are stimulated by the outdoors and typically experience, over time, an increase in their self belief, confidence, learning capacity, enthusiasm, communication and problem-solving skills and emotional well-being.
Forest School allows children to experience the emotions that go with challenging oneself, taking risks, achieving something and perhaps even failing at something. By providing a safe environment in which to experience these emotions, children can better learn how to manage them successfully.Spending time in natural environments has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels in both children and adults. Exposure to natural light, fresh air and peaceful surroundings can help children feel calm and relaxed.
We have found a property and we need your help to find someone to support us financially to make an.offer on it. please email Lisa.firstname.lastname@example.org