Based just outside fund area, we are not able to consider capital projects but as they are unique in what they offer in the Rhondda Fawr and support veterans and families from across the fund area, Valleys Veterans approached PyC for a Micro Fund grant to support training and equipment as part of their ambitious Equi-Growth project for which they had secured over £50,000 in funding.
Already hosting a successful breakfast club and support in services the Equi-Grow Project integrates existing support group activities into a properly structured and resourced 2 year programme of interlinked equestrian, horticultural and social enterprise activities. The equestrian element covers all aspects of equine and stable management through daily, hands-on active participation. Open air, all-weather activity focused on the care and well-being of horses is a well-documented contributor to improving mental and physical health and wellbeing and the Valley Veterans’ experience to date is that participants find real purpose and growing self-esteem in being responsible for the Welsh Cobs in the yard. Moreover, the sense of responsibility to feed and care for the horses on a daily basis brings veterans out of homes that some are reluctant to leave, thus breaking the downwards spiral associated with isolation and loneliness.
The Micro Fund grant was to support First Aid Training and equipment for members and saddles, bridles, harnesses for the horses. With the PyC funding they trained 8 volunteers which was more than adequate for an organisation of their size and essential Health & Safety training for a further 3 volunteers. The Pandemic had an impact on members attending site in the first few months, but they have had volunteers attend site to care for the horses, which they have enjoyed so much they have attended a horse caring course.
“Our Project has had and continues to provide a very positive impact on our members. Our Facebook site is full of very positive comments from the Armed Forces Councillor in Wales to our strategic partners and support groups. Our members and their families are very generous in their praise for our efforts in the stables and allotment as well as the weekly Breakfast Club “Your effort, work, loyalty and dedication to the veterans is outstanding. I’m privileged to know you” We have made great connections with Pen y Cymoedd, Keep Wales Tidy Nature Project, cemented our links with InterlinkRCT and have been immensely proud of our CEO for receiving 3 major awards during this funding period for his outstanding achievements in his work with veterans.
Our planning application for development of our stables and allotment area was delayed but now we have secured planning permission for the site, we can concentrate on our site development, which includes groundwork and drainage / access road / stables and workshop and sustainable, ecologically friendly methods of horticulture and energy utilising solar and wind energy to power our lights and tools. The application process to PyC was very straightforward and our dealings with PyC and Kate Breeze in particular has been nothing short of excellent throughout this entire process. We extend our heartfelt thanks to her and to your organisation for providing this funding to us, which we have utilised to its greatest effect by ensuring our horses are cared for by providing the best
quality materials and by ensuring we are fully compliant with our statutory Health & Safety requirements. Thank you very much for funding our organisation.” – Nigel (Valleys Veterans)