The Pepper Project has funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, to help us to provide equine facilitated therapeutic activities to looked after children. Thanks to the Government for making this possible.
We would use this funding to offer equine facilitated therapeutic activities to looked after children (LAC), including those in residential care, in foster or private foster care, and those identified by the local post-adoption support team as needing additional support. Our project will make a difference by supporting LAC and their families to cope with the additional challenges that they may be facing as a result of COVID-19, including mental health support and support to mitigate the increased challenges of loneliness and isolation.
The project will benefit LAC aged up to 25, and their families/carers. This project will be ongoing, and a key part of our offer. This first phase will allow us to pilot the project and receive feedback from stakeholders in order to ensure that the project meets the needs of the clients involved. Evaluation will take place through qualitative and quantitative measures as well as establishing a young person’s steering group who will inform the project.
The project will be on a self-referral basis as well as taking referrals from local schools and Adoption East Midlands who will refer based on those young people and families in the most need. We have received increased referrals over the last year from both self-referrals, and referrals from statutory organisations for LAC children.
The adoption support fund does not currently fund equine facilitated therapies, and social workers have struggled to find funding from other sources. We have been able to subsidise some programmes through our CIC, but this funding has now been exhausted as a result of significant loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis.