Horse Resource is a social enterprise in the heart of the North Devon countryside which ‘Helps horses, Help people”. Set in 150 acres of ancient woodland, farmland and gardens, it runs therapeutic horsemanship programmes which specialise in rehabilitating and retraining rescue ponies, enabling them to facilitate personal development in people with special needs and mental health problems.
It is always so hands on with the horses and land management that fostering connections within the local community had been hard, but it was necessary as Horse Resource only relocated from North London to North Devon in summer 2017.
The Rural Social Enterprise course run by Devon Communities Together as part of its Rural Enterprise Solutions programme, which was funded by the Princes Countryside Fund, has helped cement Horse Resource's role in the local community and, from a business perceptive, to look at the bigger picture.
"Participation in the social enterprise course has enabled Horse Resource to re-look at our business model with professional support," said Sophie Anderson of Horse Resource. "It has allowed us to reach the people really in need, by providing comprehensive knowledge and theories to help shape the business plan and pricing, enabling us to meet our goals and reach the local demographic we had been struggling to before.
"Business growth had been organic to this stage too, but due to the great content and inspiring guest speakers the course helped foster valuable relationships in the right places. It gave horse resource new horizons and opened opportunities with larger organisations, by improving our visibility as an alternative education provider. We now get referrals from much larger organisations like Inspire SW.
"Our home has also developed into a thriving safe space for horses and people to heal and learn life skills through our facilitated programmes and for others to volunteer and just be with horses."
Horse Resource has a variety of services which are available to the local community including rider coaching, horsemanship training and ‘sharer’ scheme for those unable to afford their own horses but want to be actively involved. They also provide sponsorship of the rescue horses for those unable to be actively involved - although they would argue horses are the best therapy and everyone can be involved!
The main struggle with running a social enterprise with such high running costs as
keeping horses, is fundraising, says Sophie: "The course provided valuable insight into local, council and private funding available. We have been enthusiastically completing applications for funding to help us provide subsidised programmes for those in
need and we are hoping for the best! Aside from the impactful content of the course, which covered everything from finance to forecasting to social media, the network it helped create amongst the small rural businesses participating has been invaluable and given a real confidence boost. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Horse Resource, our clients and our horses."
Horse resource is on social media and more information regarding its services is
available on Facebook at Horse Resource ltd. and at www.horseresource.com. For further details you may also email firstname.lastname@example.org.