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Crossways Community at Athena Herd Foundation

Athena Herd Foundation is very pleased to have an important beneficial relationship with Crossways Community and their residents. Crossways Community is a charity which provides residential care and support for vulnerable adults aged 18-65 with acute to moderate mental health issues and is based in Tunbridge Wells. Within the community are different residential settings, including a care home, supported accommodation and semi-independent flats.

Athena Herd Foundation works with their teams to provide their residents with insightful and inspiring programmes of Equine Facilitated Interactions that develop and strengthen self-awareness, emotional literacy, social intelligence, personal boundaries and positive communication.

Skills for Life

The Athena Herd Foundation programmes are based around mindfulness and embodied practices, supported by Equine Facilitated Interactions, which focus on nurturing positive wellbeing and practical skills and coping strategies that residents can engage and reconnect with anywhere, and at any time, in everyday life.
The impact of these programmes is well explained by their team, as follows: “For some of our residents, communication and trust is very difficult so having a horse come to you and interact with you may be very special.” and they report that the programmes  have “been highly beneficial to those attending – encouraging self-discovery, improving self-confidence, and self-management to help overcome fears and anxieties.”

Alice’s Story

Alice (not her real name) is prone to anxiety which has affected her self-esteem and self-confidence.  She is liable to withdraw from everyday activities and those around her and resort to coping mechanisms which are not helpful in the long term.  Self-reflection has not been easy or comfortable for her but the sessions at Athena Herd Foundation have helped enormously with these challenges.

With the help of the grounding exercises which were beneficial to both the participant and the horses, she started to realise that it was helping with her anxiety and in turn with her social confidence. She enjoyed connecting with the horses and reflecting on how behaviours and reactions can have an impact on self and others

After the six sessions Alice reported that she felt much better in social settings, calmer and more confident.  The sessions helped her to relax and in turn, feel more comfortable with being able to voice her feelings in a group setting. Overall, she found her time at Athena Herd Foundation a positive experience, learned new techniques for dealing with her thoughts and emotions and understood that she has a voice and it matters.

Support for these programmes

Athena Herd Foundation and Crossways Community cannot offer these meaningful programmes with the generosity of grants and funding providers. We would specifically wish to offer our thanks to The National Lottery’s Community Fund and the Kent Community Foundation for supporting these programmes,.