Here at WBC, we were given a ‘leg up’ 28 years ago with a £5000 grant from The Prince’s Trust. So we really value organisations that encourage and support young people and businesses alike. Especially ones in our own back yard. Supporting local businesses and charities is particularly at the heart of our Bags For Life business. In fact our success is built on thriving independent organisations like the Ebony Horse Club – our local charity that uses horses to raise the aspirations, life skills, education and well-being of young Brixton riders in what it one of most deprived boroughs in south east London.
When the trustees and volunteers invited us for drinks to learn more about the work they do, we jumped at the opportunity.
WBC supporting the work of Ebony Horse club
Many of the visitors that go to Ebony Horse Club can’t believe they’re in the right place when they arrive. Tucked away at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, Millbrook road is a narrow street just a few minutes walk from the hustle and bustle of the centre of Brixton. But there at the end, between the railway lines and the tower blocks of the Loughborough estate, you will find Ebony Horse Club. Squeezed in amongst the high rise flats, it’s a small oasis of calm where local children can experience the joy of learning to ride and care for the horses.
This year is Ebony horse club’s 21st Anniversary.
For many of those 21 years, children had to be bussed around to other riding centres around London. They finally achieved their dream of opening their own riding centre here in the heart of the community. It is now home to nine beautiful horses and supports over 400 young children. Their mission is to change the lives of the children that attend through contact with the horses and by building self-esteem. The club allows the members a form of escapism along with the mental benefits of regular outdoor exercise.
Bags for lives!
It was clear to see how passionate everyone was about Ebony Horse Club; the kids, volunteers, youth workers and the parents.
Abdus is 13. He’s been coming to EHC for several years, with his older sister Khadija and younger sister Tuka. They live in nearby Peckham and cycle to EHC for their riding lessons. They also help out at the club. Abdus comes to volunteer regularly after school, helping the staff maintain the yard. He looks after the horses and supports younger more inexperienced riders. He is smart and ambitious and hopes to take his BHS exams – the equine industry standard qualifications. Outside of Ebony he hopes to become an accountant.
This year Abdus took part in their “Pony Racing” programme. It enabled him to go training with professional jockeys and take part in a race at the prestigious Ascot Racecourse.
We also spoke to a young man called Calvin. Calvin is about to go off and join the armed forces. Then there was Shavae who just finished her first year at Plumpton College. All such an inspiration to be around. They shared with us their stories of the club. They told us how it’s helped keep them focused and overcome the personal difficulties that often arise as a result of living in the inner city.
Sue Collins, Chair of EHC, where HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is the charity’s President, explained:
“it is often easier to discuss your problems when emptying a wheelbarrow, than it is face to face”
That really struck a chord with us. Having a focus and a supportive environment, is often exactly what young people and fledgling businesses need to raise their aspirations.
To read more about Ebony Horse Club visit their website here