The adults, mainly men, visit the Sanctuary up to three times each week to carry out a variety of stable duties under the supervision of the Sanctuary’s Animal Welfare Manager.
This month (November) they were rewarded for their diligence and enthusiasm with a special certificate entitling them to adopt a horse or pony of their choice for one year.
The certificates were presented at the Trust’s Service Users Awards event in Whalley.
Occupational therapist, Samantha Porter, explained that the men have been residents at Mersey Care Whalley for up to ten years, and remarked on the transformations that occur during the visits to the Sanctuary.
“Some cannot communicate at all with each other on the ward, yet at the Sanctuary they are able to delegate duties, accept guidance and discipline, and bond into an orderly and effective team. Some may be lethargic and inert on the ward, but keen to work hard when they get to the Sanctuary.”
She said that levels of motivation and self-confidence rise significantly as a result, with other benefits such as improved social integration and cognitive development.
“The stable duties they carry out for the horses such as stable cleaning or basic grooming are fairly simple, but there is a noticeable effect, a before-and-after, that makes them feel needed, and proud of what they’ve done.These are valuable transferrable skills that will help their gradual transition and integration into the community.”