Stable Life helps young people to break the cycle of damaging behaviour or feelings of helplessness. We offer vulnerable youngsters a proven and trusted medium which encourages self reflection and promotes resilience. Confidence and motivation can flourish accompanied by an increase in communication and anger management skills. Learn more in What We Do.
Billy lives in the Scottish Borders with his dad who has poor mental health and is a heroin addict. Life was not very good for Billy. The impact of his Dad’s problems had started to effect Billy, he was excluded from school, found it really difficult to make friends and had started to get himself into trouble with the police.
Billy started at Stable Life and was introduced to the horse Cree, and over a period slowly started to turn his problems round and began to believe in himself. Cree helped Billy to open up and start trusting people again, he found the ability to touch and let people hug him were before he would cower away. He began to understand about his behaviour and the effect it had on those around him. He has made friends and is engaging with school.
Billy understands Cree and is very loyal to him and believes that “Stable Life” has changed his life:
“Cree is not being awkward, he is just misunderstood. He thinks no one likes him and I know how that feels. Come on Cree, you can do it! We can do it together.”
Dad came along to see Billy in a recent open day and was smiling as if his face would burst: “I am so proud of the wee man, you did really good son.” Some young people and families need extra help and support when conventional methods do not work and for Billy and his dad Cree did just the trick.
“Stable Life” is all about developing a sense of self.
We have been supporting a fifteen year old girl and her family through a very difficult time. She had very low self-esteem and was becoming increasingly anxious and relationships within the family were very difficult and the situation was deteriorating to the point where she was unable to stay at home. Mum and dad were struggling emotionally and also trying to cope with drug and alcohol dependency and poor mental health. Working in a supportive multiagency partnership we were able to support her and her family to look at strategies, coping mechanisms and effective communication skills. This helped to build up some of the bridges within the family and also support her and her family at meetings in school and to be an advocate for her views and decision making.
X feels that Stable Life has given her a voice and a safe place to talk and to gain respite and guidance from people who understand about her life. She can manage her own anxiety a bit more and will use breathing exercises and “own her own experiences” and fears. “I used to be very depressed and had no direction in my life but “Stable Life” changed me for the better, people like me here. Sometimes at night I feel I canny breathe and when I am here it kind of makes sense and a feel better.” Our engagement has helped the family recover and we have built up effective relationships with both parents and are a trusted, listening ear and they feel that “this is something that brings us together as we do nothing as a family”.
X was involved in our Open day and the family all came along to see her and were so very proud of her achievements. They were able to see the positives in her caring nature to others and a chance to see her skill and focus on the Musical Ride. The family were so pleased and proud and X was able get attention for the right reasons and shared in a very special magical day.
A group of young people some travelling from Coldstream, two bus journeys worked for a week painting before travelling back in the evening. Starting their journey at 7.30 am and not home until after 8 in the evening their commitment and pride in Stable Life is apparent.
Peer volunteers are a fantastic ambassadors as they are young people who have participated in Stable Life and whom have shown remarkable courage and a desire to give something back to Stable Life Stable Life is so proud of our award winning Young Person Mentors.
“These are young people that have attended Stable Life and have shown great courage dealing with their own personal challenges. Our Mentors undertake extensive peer mentor training and they regularly give up time to provide opportunity and friendship to others in Stable Life. All individuals have shown great empathy and commitment to other Young People who are going through difficult times. All are fantastic advocates of our programme and want to give something back to help others. A Mentor’s special support brings great benefits to all as they are able to provide respect, understanding and hope from someone who has travelled a similar path.“
This year young people have given over 2000 hours to Stable Life which is remarkable.
Eight Stable Life Mentors were recipients of Saltire Awards given by the Voluntary Borders Centre, March 2014. Photograph - Left to Right: Karla Purves, Gemma Robertson, Rebecca Miller and Caroline Taylor Smith. Not Shown: Amy Swan, Maria Bennett, Alice Bennet, Kieran Barron
A hand to hold, a heart to heal, a horse to hug.
"Stable Life is a time when I can forget all the worries and focus. After Sam has helped me and I have tried I feel so proud and I try to hold that good feeling afterwards when I feel sad."