The long term physical and mental effects of injury in battle are well recognised and reported.
Power of Polo is very happy to partner with ‘Cool Hooves’ at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, they founded the first programme of its kind supporting injured ex-servicemen and women. This programme has now moved to Tidworth Polo Club run by a military charity and offers weekly lessons with a fully trained HPA instructor to injured ex-servicemen and women.
Supporting participants after medical rehabilitation and is an example of the power that polo has to contribute to the restoration of self-confidence after a traumatic life change and to help them regain an active life. We also actively promote opportunities for these participants to share their experiences and mentor the young people they meet on other programmes. This combination of groups really adds to both sets of particpants.
Power of Polo hopes to support the growth and sustainability of programmes like this and to encourage others by providing further organisational support, PR, funding where needed, monitoring and evaluation of impact.
This experience 'can change our perspective on the way we think, because this sport comes across like it's not for everyone, so obviously now that I've tried it and they've welcomed me here, and the people that do the sport they've welcomed us. So it's an open sport now innate? I feel privileged to have done it'
2016 marked the second successful camp based at the Royal County Berkshire Club (RCBPC) and Fifield Polo club, with the final tournament held at the RCBPC. Joined again by 3 of the injured ex-servicemen and women we ran a full programme staying at the Combermere Barrack and this time including a music workshop encouraging the young people to express themselves and share. The Guards Polo Club also hostd the group again with huge enthusiasm for the tour as usual. Watch this space for the song!! We look forward to future programmes and our partnership with the Polo Clubs moving forward.
Equine therapy for children with disabilities such as autism and cerebral palsy has widely been studied and reported to be beneficial to those children affected. However, there is also a growing body of evidence to suggest that children with difficult socioeconomic backgrounds and those with varying psycological issues can also benefit from interaction with horses.
Power of Polo has set up a brand new programme, focusing on making a change for disadvantaged young people.
In order to provide proof of concept to our funders, we ran a week long pilot programme in the summer of 2015. The participants of the pilot underwent an intensive four-day course including lessons in polo, grooming and tacking up, mucking out, a vet session with Mark Emerson and a faradic therapy session with Petra Sones. Housed at the Comberemere Barracks they also had a tour of the museum there and met serving soldiers. They were lucky enough to be given a tour of Guards Polo Club and watch a match hosted by Anthony Fanshawe.
All the attendees found the programme valuable and felt that it can offer a fantastic opportunity to change perspectives.
We are hugely grateful to the polo community and the youth work community for all their support without which these programmes could not take place.
HIV in children and young people can present multiple challenges, not only in managing a long-term complex health condition but also the impacts of HIV related stigma. Many children and young people affected by HIV have suffered multiple bereavements, are or have been young carers and live in difficult socioeconomic conditions. Research shows these young people suffer poor self-esteem, higher than average mental health problems and high rates of suicide attempts. Due to the response of society to HIV, schools and friends are often not told about a child’s condition and this can result in feelings of extreme isolation for that child or young person.
We ran a one-day polo experience and workshop for six young people who were unable to attend the annual CHIVA camp, which is an opportunity for children to meet each other from around the country to reduce the feelings of isolation they feel. Around the polo experience we will run additional tailored sessions run by the CHIVA team.
"Coming from different environments whether it be a rough background at home or having HIV, its encouraging to do something like this because... its like for the moment you are out there ... there are more things in life to do that you have not already done before....that opportunity makes me think I could do something with horses and other stuff because its a change..."
Watch this short film depicting the journey of 8 boys from south London South Central Youth Charity through our 4 day polo programme and what they learned about themselves on the way. Let them show you the POWER OF POLO and what the sport can bring!!! With thanks to director and producer Elisabeth Kerr