PRAISE has been heaped upon a group of unemployed youngsters who revamped a centre for disabled horse riders.

A team of seven 16 to 25-year-olds worked through the cold to transform The Unicorn Centre, near Middlesbrough, a purpose-built facility used by more than 200 adults and children with disabilities each week.

As part of a community project programme backed by the Prince’s Trust and UK Steel Enterprise, the group made a “massive difference” to the riding centre by repairing and replacing equipment, providing new sensory equipment, repainting unicorn cut-outs and replacing marker boards with bright and changeable pictures.

Centre manager Claire Pitt said: “We were absolutely delighted when we heard about the project. Riding tuition for people with disabilities is not only about enjoyment but is also hugely therapeutic physically, mentally and socially.

“It was really cold when the team of young people were here but they worked so hard and were so enthusiastic. Everyone enjoyed having them and their efforts have made a massive difference to everyone who uses the Centre.”

Claire McGarvey, Prince’s Trust team leader from Stockton Riverside College, added: “The community project that these young people plan and carry out is an important part of their programme. Some may have been in care, excluded from school or be underachieving educationally and they learn so many new skills, gain work experience and grow in confidence. They also know that the work they have done to help others is really appreciated which boosts their self-esteem.”