UCLan volunteers lend a hand to equine charity on Armed Forces Day

28 June 2023

College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services support The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre

The College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services (CMVES), based at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), has marked Armed Forces Day by volunteering at The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre.

Staff and students from all areas of the University spent the day working with the Lancaster-based charity, which works with community groups to improve health and well-being through horses, to improve and develop the site for its visitors through ground clearance and maintenance work.

They were joined by ex-service volunteers and children from the Sir Tom Finney Community High School in Preston.

Becky Steel who leads the CMVES organised the volunteering day. She said: “The University already works with The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre on several equine therapy projects with service and vulnerable veterans so it was the ideal place to mark Armed Forces Day.

"The University already works with The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre on several equine therapy projects with service and vulnerable veterans so it was the ideal place to mark Armed Forces Day."

Becky Steel who leads the CMVES and organised the volunteering day

“It’s an exciting time for this partnership and we’re now aiming to deliver outdoor leadership courses through UCLan’s School of Sport and Health Sciences as well as creating a community garden for people to enjoy.

“All of the staff and students who volunteered today have said how much they’ve enjoyed giving something back to a charity that benefits so many people.”

Dr Peter Holland, Associate Dean for Business and Partnerships within the UCLan School of Veterinary Medicine, was one of the volunteers. He said: “I’m a former Army Reservist myself so this is something I’m passionate about supporting. We’re also looking to explore how our new Vet School can work with the Centre in the future.”

Military Veterans who have accessed equine therapy through Veteran charity Healthier Heroes also took part.

"I’ve reflected on my mental health and it has given me focus so I wanted to give something back to the charity through voluntary work."

Jack, a volunteer from the charity Healthier Heroes

One of the volunteers, Jack, said: “I’ve really benefited from the equine coaching programme delivered by Cath Hornby and Cath Birtwistle and it’s helped me to adjust to civilian life. I’ve reflected on my mental health and it has given me focus so I wanted to give something back to the charity through voluntary work.”

Gillian Carlisle, CEO of The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre, added: “It’s been a marvellous day. It was a joy to see the children’s faces when they met our horses and we’re very grateful to everyone that came along to lend a hand today.”

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Volunteers at the The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre01 / 01

Volunteers from UCLan's College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services at The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre.