A SHREWTON centre providing outdoor activities to young people and adults has received Royal approval after a visit from Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh.
Her Royal Highness toured the Gul Outdoor Therapy’s Riverside site and met young people and adults who benefit from the charity’s work, which includes hosting a range of outdoor activities.
Her tour took in the main yard, stables and arena, the forest school, and a therapy garden, where a number of activities were taking place. The Duchess spoke with people she met, including Maria Pogson, who is currently being supported by the charity.
“The Duchess spent ages talking with me and asking how the horses have helped me,” she said.
“I explained that my favourite horse, Fluffy, has made such a massive difference to my life and how I now feel about the world.
“She clearly understood the challenges I have faced and how being around horses and nature can help with people’s personal struggles.”
The Duchess also met two Balmoral ponies, William and Tiger Moth. They are owned by His Majesty the King and are key to the delivery of equine therapies.
The ponies are especially suited to young people who have never ridden before, or for whom a physical disability might otherwise prevent them from participating.
Dr Celia Grummitt, chief executive of Gul Outdoor Therapy, said: “We are a provider of life-changing mental health support through our work with horses and use of our glorious outdoor spaces in a therapeutic way.
“The visit means such a great deal to our volunteers, staff and trustees, and is recognition of the hard work we have put in to create this amazing facility for the young people of Wiltshire and beyond.
“We were also able to explain to The Duchess about our similar facilities in Carmarthenshire in Wales, and our plans for new centres as far afield as Orkney.”
For more on the charity, log on to www.guloutdoortherapy.org.uk