Earlier this year we launched a competition where members of the public could vote who they wanted as our next charity partner. This year, we’ve got several charities on board, with one being Autism Angels!

Helping local charities and encouraging our local community to thrive is so important to us. Find out all about our next 2017 charity here:

Who are Autism Angels?

Autism Angels are an inspiring charity who connect and empower children on the autism spectrum, as well as, those with other disabilities or those from vulnerable or disadvantaged backgrounds with horses. They also provide training and support to parents, siblings and teachers, as well as, teach businesses to be more inclusive of, and accessible to, those with additional needs.
Located in the beautiful historic market town of Wetherby, situated on the River Wharf within the golden triangle of Leeds, Harrogate and York, Autism Angels support and serve families from all over the region. Being surrounded by nature and the horses has many proven benefits for the children at Autism Angels, these include;

  • Reduced level of cortisol (this is the stress hormone which is heightened in people on the spectrum due to finding the world a confusing and frightening place).
  • Reduced heart rates.
  • Increased feelings of wellbeing.
  • Increased positive thoughts for the future.

Due to the social and communicational disabilities, executive functioning deficits, sensory processing disorders, auditory processing issues and other learning difficulties that the children at Autism Angels face, majority of the children will have to tackle high levels of anxiety, self-esteem issues and isolation, so these benefits really can be life-changing.

The method of using horses to support our learning methods due to the horse copying our emotions and behaviours is known as EFL (Equine Facilitated Learning), which builds better communication skills and a stronger connection for families.

Who have Autism Angels helped?

Autism Angels help lots of children, families and businesses (too many to mention!) so here is a case study of how Autism Angels helped ‘Jane’ overcome her violent and chaotic behaviour;

Jane is an 8-year-old little girl who following a childhood trauma began to display violent and chaotic behaviours both at school and home. Due to this behaviour, Jane had very low self-confidence and self-esteem, and struggled to make friends. Along with this, family friends began to distance themselves as their children couldn’t cope with Jane’s behaviour.

Jane was placed on the SEN register, received additional support at school and home, and attended counselling sessions. Although Jane’s behaviour improved significantly over the 18 months that she received this support, it wasn’t until Jane and her family joined the Mentoring Program offered by Autism Angels, that Jane’s behaviour has now changed dramatically.

Jane can now identify with herself, her attainment at school has increased, she’s able to join in with all of her classes, and she has bonded with her mother, with her mum stating “I finally feel like I have my daughter back, I have such a special relationship with her now as we have both engaged equally in the mentoring programme. We have a new bond now, one full of hugs, fun, laughter and a mutual respect.”

How can you help?

At the moment Autism Angels operate from very basic stables with no indoor facility. This means that in adverse weather conditions, the children may miss sessions due to the heightened health and safety risks, as well as, it being too sensorily challenging for the children.

Autism Angels try to avoid missing sessions as much as possible as the routine and knowing what to expect helps those with anxiety manage their anxiety.

In order to overcome this issue, Autism Angels are looking to provide an new indoor arena that represents a pioneering centre of excellence for autism provision, which would allow sessions to be carried out all year round, during adverse weather conditions, and complete more sessions in the darker months – this would be a huge advantage as the number of families receiving diagnosis increases year on year.

To be able to accomplish this, Autism Angels, have applied for the Aviva Community Fund and now need your help to win it! If you can spare 2 minutes, simply follow the link below and vote for them (for free!). It would mean the world to Autism Angels, the children they help and their families.


We’ll keep you updated on whether they are successful!