Horse Power takes the reins as The Big Walk trots through Staffordshire

The spotlight was on Staffordshire today (Friday 25 May) as walkers from The Big Walk passed through the county. The team of four walkers are taking part in the initiative, journeying across the UK to shine a light on fantastic communities and projects that make great things happen where they live.

An idea from the Eden Project made possible by the National Lottery, The Big Walk is designed to celebrate the people at the heart of the UK’s communities, who work together to make a positive difference locally.

After walking more than 100 miles since Wednesday 16 May, the walkers arrived at Horse Power in Weeford for a well-deserved rest. The project was carefully selected from hundreds of great community projects because it is a shining example of what can be achieved when “neigh”-bourhoods come together.

Horse Power, a National Lottery-funded initiative, offers counselling and therapy using horses to children and adults with complex needs, such as mental health problems. This provides a calm and relaxing environment, helping people to overcome challenges in their lives.

Sarah Heward, Counsellor at Horse Power, was delighted to welcome The Big Walk. She says:

“We’re so proud to host the walkers and it was lovely seeing conversations flow between such a mix of people including Horse Power staff, their families, the walkers and people who have benefited from the therapy. It was great to introduce the walkers to our six horses that provide a therapeutic atmosphere for people with mental health problems such as anxiety and low self-esteem.”

Steve Barnabis, 45, from East London said after the visit:

“It meant the world to see such welcoming faces when we arrived at Horse Power. Despite the rain, it has been fantastic to meet the people and horses at the heart of the project and learn about the benefits it brings to the local community. The best part about The Big Walk is meeting so many inspiring people who dedicate their time to helping others.”

Steve set off from Morecambe on Wednesday 16 May live on BBC’s The One Show, as part of The Big Walk. He is one of eight walkers, in four teams travelling to the four corners of the UK, helping to spread the word about the importance of communities and inviting people to take part in The Big Lunch.

The Big Lunch is the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours on Sunday 3 June and marks the end of The Big Walk. It launched back in 2009 with the simple premise that great things happen when you bring people together.

Joe Ferns, Funding Director at the Big Lottery Fund, says:

“The Big Walk shines a spotlight on great community projects and the inspirational people making lives better for themselves and those around them. The fact that many of the projects The Big Walk will be visiting are supported with money raised by National Lottery players is something we’re really proud of. We hope that all taking part will share ideas and enthusiasm for the great things that can happen when people come together.”