We are delighted to welcome local schools, community groups and charities on site to meet the team, see the Sanctuary and to share our animals with. Some groups choose to come just to have a visit and cuddles with the horses, chickens and Angel the dog; others are able to spend a few hours and help us with some jobs around the site including the practical care of the horses.
We regularly host work experience sessions with Jigsaw+ and a couple of local schools that support those on the autistic spectrum. It is an absolute pleasure to teach these young people how we look after our animals and to show them many of the tasks that are required to keep the Sanctuary running and to ensure the maximum well-being of our herd and flock. The young people really engage with us and help in so many ways; whether it is poo picking, grooming, feeding, painting fences, cleaning the chicken coop or collecting the eggs. Some really lovely relationships with our animals are forming too and it is touching to see these develop over the weeks. Not only are the young people learning practical skills; but they feel comfortable enough on site to communicate more and more with the team, working in a totally non-judgemental environment that focuses on their abilities – this improvement of confidence is wonderful to be part of.
In addition, we have started some visits with schools and charities that have residential and non-residential students with additional needs. The Meath Epilepsy Charity recently brought some of their residents and a super day was had by all – they helped us plant seeds to grow vegetables for the chickens; tidied our barn and they gave Lucy a fantastic groom and lots of cuddles. Cherry Trees and Thames Ditton Junior School have visited us and created some lovely bug houses for the smallest creatures on our site. In addition, Thames Ditton School made some fairy doors for the trees so that our woodland fairies can make their home at the Sanctuary! We also received some free wildflower seeds from Kew Gardens’ Grow Wild Project and the children helped plant them in our community garden.
It has always been part of the Mane Chance dream to share our horses with those who might need a little bit of respite from the challenges of the modern world. We operate a calm, respectful method of horse care which brings out the best in the horses we rescue – whatever their background – and we treat our human visitors exactly the same, focussing on what they can do and encouraging them gently to overcome anything that they initially struggle with! We are now in discussion with a couple of local care homes to organise some visits of their residents and other groups that support people in many different situations, thereby extending our reach into the community further. We look forward to welcoming more people over the coming months. Our site is a place of tranquillity and it is proving to provide the perfect environment for some truly special experiences.
If you are part of a group that you think would like to come and enjoy some time with us on site, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information – we would love to hear from you.