31st May 2019

Our children had a wonderful surprise when Coco and Bella the alpacas popped in to say hello!

Coco, 10, and Bella, 8, had come to Trinity Hospice as part of our Schools Link Networking Group, but made time to meet some of our incredible children. The smiles on their faces were priceless!

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 to Brian House.

Schools Link is run by the Linden Centre, and supports staff in local education to recognise when a student is struggling and offer counselling to those who need it.

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 to help 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.

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