A new herd of Llamas are settling into their new home in Grindleton.
The llamas will be an integral part of the animal therapy offered by the charity, Futures, an alternative learning and development centre, at its new home at the site of the former Broomhill Equestrian Centre, Smalden Lane.
Previously known as Harwood Edge Care Farm and based at Gisburn, the charity offers a different route for children and adults plagued by learning disability.
The centre also has six horses and various small animals on the site, which offers all the facilities you would expect from a former equestrian centre.
Donated to the centre by a Derbyshire-based animal lover, the llamas are welcome company for one of the charity’s oldest llamas, Bella, who has been pining ever since the recent death of her companion Celine.
The charity was set up by Lynn Fielding (45), of Whalley, two years ago, after she took voluntary redundancy from her job in social services.
For most of her 27-year career, she had worked alongside people with learning disabilities in supported living. But gradually she became disillusioned.
“The more I saw, the more it frustrated me,” she says. “I always tried to get the best out of people, but sometimes in supported living they are overcompensated for, and then they become deskilled. I believe we should be helping them to use the skills they’ve got.
“The idea was to help people with learning disabilities progress, rather than going round in circles.
“I’d read a lot about how animal therapy worked with people with ADHD and autism, and how interaction with small animals has a calming effect.”
A registered Pony Club centre, Futures, from September, will be able to offer level one and two in land based studies.
The charity is also contracted by Lancashire County Council (LCC) to offer day care for pupils at special needs schools and take them on respite breaks.
Lynn further hopes to win the tender from LCC to provide breaks for carers by offering a range of animal therapies.
For further information about the centre, call 01200 440675.