A PROJECT working with disadvantaged children and young people has received a £90,000 grant.

TheHorseCourse will use a three year grant of £90,000 to provide equine-assisted sessions for young people with complex personal needs and challenges engaging with education.

Funding will aim to improve participants’ self-confidence, reduce problem behaviours and improve engagement and attendance in education.

The funding has come from BBC Children in Need through its Main Grants Programme – and means that the charity currently has more than £389,000 invested in Dorset.

The grant comes as BBC Children in Need celebrates its fundraising total for the 2018 appeal of £58 million.

TheHorseCourse, whose patrons include actor Martin Clunes, has built its reputation by helping people from the age of eight to adults referred by social workers, mental health professionals, teachers and doctors if traditional talking therapies aren’t working.

The charity’s revolutionary approach involves participants working with horses to improve core skills which then lead to real life improvements like returning to education, training and work.

The charity was started in 2010 by Harriet Laurie from Askerswell who used her trained horses to teach violent young offenders. The HorseCourse is now based at Higher Manor Farm, Upwey, Weymouth.

Harriet Laurie said: “We can’t thank BBC Children in Need’s supporters enough for our recent funding; we are delighted to be able to continue working with children and young people in the local area. We have proven that working with horses is a brilliant way to engage with young people and help them to develop the core resilience skills and confidence to reach their full potential and to cope with lives that may have really serious challenges such as unwell parents or a history of abuse. Thank you BBC Children in Need!”

Speaking of the new grants, Richard King, BBC Children in Need Regional Officer, said: “At BBC Children in Need we are committed to supporting projects that will go on to make a real difference to the lives of children and young people. Its projects like this that continue to be a positive influence on the community and provide a positive environment for young people.”