Reston trek centre secures Leader funding

Dani with Renne Anderson (17), from Duns, who has built her own self confidence working with horses and now works with children who come to ESR and Jenny Hunt a final year veterinary medicine student at The University of Edinburgh who visits the stables to expand her skills and gain confidence.
Dani with Renne Anderson (17), from Duns, who has built her own self confidence working with horses and now works with children who come to ESR and Jenny Hunt a final year veterinary medicine student at The University of Edinburgh who visits the stables to expand her skills and gain confidence.

Eat, Sleep, Ride, the company that uses horses to help people develop life skills and self-confidence is upgrading its facilities after securing a LEADER fund grant.

The licensed riding school and trekking centre near Reston, was launched last year as a community interest company to help people overcome personal challenges, including mental health issues, and provide an alternative learning environment to mainstream education for teenagers at risk of being excluded or no longer in full-time education.

Founder, Danielle McKinnon (33) used advice from Business Gateway Scottish Borders to successfully apply for £20,006 from Scottish Borders LEADER. The funding, combined with £13,328 already raised by ESR, will be used to: resurface the facility’s indoor arena; construct a field shelter for 12 horses and ponies; purchase a quad bike; and take on a project manager, handyman, and a marketer.

Danielle said: “I am delighted to have secured funding through LEADER and would like to thank my Business Gateway adviser, Annie Watt, for helping me prepare all the documentation needed to support the application. She’s been with me right from the start, answering any questions I have had, helping me with my cash flow, advertising, marketing, and connecting me to other organisations who have supported my business. I’m not sure how I would have cleared some of the hurdles I’ve faced since starting without her help.”

Simon Lynch, Scottish Borders LEADER programme facilitator, added: “Dani, through her experience and skills, is in an almost unique position to reach out to people suffering from mental health challenges and offer them an opportunity to overcome their personal circumstances and regain control of their lives through working with horses in a fully supportive and beautiful environment.

“Borders LEADER and Business Gateway work closely together and without Annie from Business Gateway’s support this project would have struggled to meet LEADER standards. With Dani’s skill and continuing support from Business Gateway, we see this project going from strength to strength helping many more people to lead a happy, fulfilled and productive life.”