An artist's impression illustrates how Green Belt fields off Mays Lane, Barnet, are to be transformed into London's first purpose built equine therapy centre where challenged youngsters will be able to interact with specially trained horses.
A new base for the charity Strength and Learning Through Horses (SLTH) is being created on the site of derelict stables after Barnet Council agreed a 25-year lease on 30 acres of farmland.
SLTH is moving to Mays Lane from its existing base in Edgwarebury Lane and has launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise £150,00 by September to pay for replacement fencing and temporary cabins for classrooms and offices.
SLTH hopes to start work shortly clearing the site of derelict buildings and creating a safe arena and classroom space so that the centre can open in temporary premises as from January next year.
SLTH’s team of experts provide equine assisted therapy for youngsters who are facing mental health challenges.
Currently the charity operates with a team of ten horses and around 500 young people aged from 4 to 25 from across Barnet and other London boroughs are being supported each year.
Once the unsafe buildings have been demolished – at what was formerly Green Gate Stables and Reeds Farm – and temporary facilities have been installed, the charity will launch a fresh appeal for its long-term redevelopment.
Its new, accessible centre would involve the construction of two low level barns for horses plus activity space, an all-weather arena and two classrooms.
SLTH estimates it will need up to £1 million to create an all-purpose centre that eventually could cater for up to 700 youngsters a year.
Other community groups will be able to rent space at the new centre.
“With so much land, we hope that forest schools and other outdoor activity groups will also be able to make use of the space to allow as many people as possible to experience the mental health benefits of access to the green open space,” said SLTH in its crowdfunding appeal.
For more information see www.strengthandlearningthroughhorses.org.