We have been treated to a truly special visitor – two wonderful and well behaved alpacas have popped in to say hello.
Coco, 10, and Bella, 8, formed part of a presentation to the our Schools Link Networking Group, but also spent time visiting the In-patient Unit, enjoyed a walk around the Linden Centre and met some of our children at Brian House.
They were led by owner Judy Ainley of Ivy Dene Farm in St Michaels On Wyre, who owns The Alpaca Experience and gave a talk to local school staff about the difference they can make to anyone who is struggling.
She said: “Alpacas benefit many, many people because they are such therapeutic, endearing and sensitive animals. People can come along with the stresses of their daily working lives and will notice the relaxing qualities of these wonderful animals in just 10 minutes.
“Alpacas are so intuitive that they will recognise when a person has health problems and they will sit with them.”
More than 30 staff from local schools were able to feed Coco and Bella before their walk through the hospice.
Donna Taylor, learning mentor at Great Eccleston Copp School, said: “Schools Link is absolutely invaluable; it’s a lifeline for our school and for our pupils who need counselling support.
“It’s made such a difference to our pupils, and we’ve been able to refer some to the Linden Centre for further support as well as staff who have needed it. The counsellors at the hospice are always there for us when we need it – it’s an amazing service.”
Lesley Robson, Chaplaincy Counsellor at St Mary’s Catholic Academy, said it was a pleasant surprise to see the alpacas at the networking event.
“They are just amazing animals, and I can see how they could make a difference to the pupils at our school,” she said.
“The Schools Link networking events are such a great opportunity to share experiences with other organisations and are so informative.”
The Schools Link Networking Group meets at Trinity Hospice twice a year and is hugely important to the work we do as it helps staff in our schools access training they might not otherwise be able to access, as well as get to know each other and the excellent work going on in different organisations to support pupils as well as school staff who need counselling support.