For thirty years, a charity on the Scottish Borders has been empowering young people and giving them the opportunity to have their contributions valued and their dreams and aspirations achieved. Though, to continue changing lives, desperate help was needed from the crowd.

For some, a happy and healthy future can be difficult to visualise. Based at Dryden Farm in Ashkirk, Scotland, Stable Life uses the connection between horses and disadvantaged young people to make a real difference in their lives. By offering a calm, safe, and caring environment, this riding school allows young people to build trusting and respectful relationships, enabling them to reflect on their current situation and develop positive coping strategies. 

Over the last five years alone, Stable Life has worked with over 450 vulnerable young people, using horses as a vehicle to build a more positive future. Through Stable Life’s services, 85% of the people they work with show increased self confidence, 84% have improved relationships, and 43 pupils secured college placements. 

With such positive outcomes, it’s no wonder that Stable Life is a vital lifeline for so many in the Scottish Borders community. 

A child lying on a horse's back

Though, the service they provide is dependent on a forty year old indoor riding school. After years of use, the building was in desperate need of renovations. The roof and windows leaked, the structure needed strengthening, and the inside was damp and cold. 

Worried that if the building was left to deteriorate, they wouldn’t be able to continue supporting vulnerable young people, the Stable Life team made the decision to fundraise. They precured 90% of the funding and hoped to raise the final 10% (£10,000) through the Stable Life – Save Our School crowdfunder!

Margaret Powell, Stable Life’s CEO, said, We needed to raise quite a substantial amount of money to rebuild our Indoor Riding School and we had managed to secure quite a bit through grants but also wanted to fundraise. We had been hearing about crowdfunding for a while and saw it as a new, positive way to raise money quite quickly.”

A helping hand from Crowdfund Scotland!

Through our Crowdfund Scotland initiative—a scheme helping to bring Scottish communities together through expert coaching, events, and grants across nine LEADER areas—the Stable Life team received guidance from Crowdfunder coach Emmi Koivisto. 

On the coaching, Margaret said, “The coaching was invaluable. Without the help from Emmi we wouldn’t have had a successful campaign. Having someone who was able to give you advice, share the knowledge and support you every step of the way is crucial for a successful outcome. It wasn’t till we ran through everything with Emmi that we truly understood what was involved and how much preplanning we needed to think about and do.”

Two young people looking after a horse as part of Stable Life's programme

After 28 days, £15,205 was raised from 250 supporters, smashing their original target. The extra money raised through their stretch target allowed them to upgrade the surface of the Indoor Riding School, giving them a five star facility!

Emmi, their expert coach, said, “Stable Life were incredibly receptive to the idea of crowdfunding and were serious in planning and running their project. It was amazing to see how they engaged with their local community and got the whole town involved in their campaign! I worked very closely with them and am so proud of the outcome!”

Top crowdfunding tips from Stable Life’s CEO

After such a successful crowdfunding journey and a great experience with the Crowdfund Scotland initiative, Margaret left us with her advice for anyone thinking about raising funds through crowdfunding:

“Listen to your coach, really think through a marketing plan and be realistic about the amount of time you will need to spend during the campaign to publicise it. Stay positive and go for it!”

Got a great idea that will help transform communities in Scotland? Check out our Crowdfund Scotland initiative and find out about the extra funding available for your area. Don’t forget to book onto one of our introductory crowdfunding workshops!