It was always a dream of our founder, Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, to have our donkey assisted therapy for children with additional needs offered in the London area, and this has finally become a reality.
Between April and June this year, we provided a new mobile service to seven schools in London as a trial - run with specially trained donkeys, who were temporarily stabled at a wonderful supporter’s home in Hertfordshire.
The four donkeys, named Austin, Boyo, Pharaoh and Tiny Tim, were taken by our staff to the schools, where children took part in riding or grooming and learned about donkey care.
Katrina Hammond, riding instructor, said: “For some city children, this was their first ever experience of being near large animals. Seeing the children’s reactions and joy that these unique experiences brings, affirms how worthwhile and valuable donkey assisted therapy is.”
School staff and children were so excited by the donkey visits, that not only did it inspire a range of class-based projects but they also came up with inventive ways to support the work. This involved organising fundraising activities - such as baking donkey-shaped biscuits to sell.