REACH – Rehabilitation, Education, Assessment and Centre for Hippotherapy is a registered Charity with Charity Number: 1158714.
Hippotherapy (Hippos is horse in Greek) is a specialist physiotherapy intervention that uses the 3 dimensional movement of the horse in walk to correct and improve movement, balance, core strength, in the person on the horse. It has been shown to benefit children with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, brain and spinal cord injuries and many other people with movement disorders. Research has shown that the functional ability of these people improves following a course of Hippotherapy and can be maintained over a follow up period. Children with autism and other learning disabilities with speech and communication difficulties have also benefitted from this form of therapy.
Our mission is to provide high quality assessment and rehabilitation programmes using the horse to provide a treatment strategy for adults and children with physical, mental, emotional, social and learning challenges and as such allow more people to benefit from Hippotherapy and associated services.
Hippotherapy is performed by Allied Health Professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists and there are only around 30 therapists who are currently practising in the UK. There is a particular shortage of these specially trained physiotherapists in the South East and REACH helps to address this shortage.
We want people to come for regular visits to REACH. We want the centre to have a professional whilst friendly feel to encourage on-going family involvement rather than the feeling of a medical intervention. We will offer alternative services to allow clients to visit and partake in activities outside of a clinic session e.g. tea with a pony and other equine assisted therapies.
All staff and Volunteers at REACH will have the necessary qualification, training and are CRB/DBS checked to provide the range of services.
The centre is run by the Chief Executive and Clinical Lead, Louise Barrett (BSc Hons, MCSP, HPC Reg). Louise is a Physiotherapist trained in Hippotherapy and Equine Rehabilitation. She has a vast knowledge and experience of horses and qualifications in horse care. She has a great commitment to showing how these animals can truly help people who have special needs. Louise has achieved her UK CC coaching qualification in association with the RDA and is an RDA Green coach. More recently Louise has been training for a Professional Certificate in Equine Facilitated Learning and will be leading the service to develop this activity.
REACH has been set up as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). Our current Trustees are:
- Lisa Bailey – Chair Person
- Fleur Mitchell – Secretary
- Yifei He – Treasurer
- Pat Glover
- Amy Northwood
- Kelly James
Our sessions are staffed by volunteers other than the Hippotherapist, and fees charged go towards our running costs. We undertake a lot of fundraising and grant applications to enable us to provide our service.