SHOPPERS heading to Tesco in Ryde this morning (Monday) may spot an unusual visitor.

Bodster CIC will be in store from 10am with their pony, Tippy, to encourage people to vote for the organisation to receive funding from the National Lottery.

The group's 'Whispering Ponies' project is in the running for £50,000.

If successful, Bodster, based in Sandford, will use the grant to offer equine therapy sessions for older people in residential homes and day care centres.

The project will work with people with dementia, and those who are socially isolated, to encourage interaction with the ponies.

Bodster also wants to invite local schools along to encourage their understanding of dementia.

Jo Boddington, of Bodster CIC, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to raise awareness and support for our work and, with your help, to secure further much-needed funding.

"We urge local Island people to get behind us. If successful, our project will make a real difference to our local community in Sandford, Godshill, and by visiting more homes we will be able to expand our reach and respond to the community’s requests.

"We want to develop intergenerational activities by engaging younger volunteers and school children who come to general sessions in being involved with people with dementia.

"We want to break down barriers using their common love of the ponies.”

To vote, visit