Our Small Animal Farm is now open to visitors thanks to our loyal supporters who helped us win £50,000 from the Big Lottery People’s Millions to set up the farm.
All year round families can enjoy a visit to our Small Animals Farm where they will meet Bingo our Miniature Shetland Pony, Miniature Mediterranean Donkey, cheeky Pygmy Goats, Alpacas, ducks, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, and pigs.
The farm is open Monday to Saturday 9:00am to 4:00pm, Sunday 10:30am to 4:00pm. Last entry is at 3pm.
Admission is £1.00 per person (under 2's go free).
Animal Assisted Therapy has already proven to be an invaluable tool to our work with disabled people. Our Riding Therapy horses have consistently benefited those with disabilities since the Centre opened. They also help us to reach out into the local community, as they are a very popular attraction to visitors when we hold our events and plant sales.
The farm has opened up new animal care training opportunities for clients whose disabilities make caring for horses difficult or for those clients who would rather receive training in farm animal care. We are strongly committed to enhancing the lives of vulnerable adults, providing work training through our “Work Counts” scheme. This scheme aims to assist these adults to gain employment in the community, either paid or voluntary, and to play a valued role in society through social inclusion.
We are very grateful to Inner Wheel for donating the money to purchase our male donkey, originally named Jimmy. Inner Wheel decided to name him Dicky, however, our clients found this very funny so we nicknamed him DJ because of our new community radio station.
Everyone will benefit from the psychological aspects of Animal Assisted Interventions (spending time with animals in a meaningful way). Including, forming special relationships and attachment to the animals, increased trust and pro-social activity, understanding feelings and emotions, and increased motivation and responsibility towards others. This leads to a feeling of increased well-being and feeling of togetherness/companionship. Interaction with animals is meaningful and can also lead to increased language and speech development and understanding of space and time.
It has been particularly noticeable to us how interaction with these animals has brought great pleasure to our clients and in particular motivation to learn new skills. The Small Animal Farm has also helped them to relax and interact with others.
Being with animals is renowned for helping those who have various difficulties and scientific studies have measured the success of this type of therapy. The main benefits found are those listed below.
- Improves fine motor skills
- Improves wheelchair skills
- Improves standingbalance
Being with animals may also lower blood pressure and the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
A 2007 meta-analysis found that animal-assisted therapy is associated with moderate effect sizes in improving outcomes in autism spectrum symptoms, medical difficulties, behavioural problems, and emotional well-being.
- Increases verbal interactions between group members
- Increases attention skills (i.e., paying attention, staying on task)
- Develops leisure/recreationskills
- Increases self-esteem
- Reduces anxiety
- Reduces loneliness and decreases depression
- Increases vocabulary
- Aids long and short-term memory
- Improves knowledge of concepts, such as size, colour, etc.
- Clients are able to learn new skills
- Improves willingness to be involved in a group activity
- Improves interactions with others
- Improves interactions with staff
The Garden Centre, Small Animal Farm and Memorial Walk are open Monday to Saturday from 9:00am to 4.00pm, Sundays and Bank Holidays, from 10:30am to 4:00pm.