When lions meet alpacas you would imagine the worst – but not when the Lions of Newquay Towan Blystra Cub visited these friendly creatures at C.H.A.T., a not-for-profit project helping others, using Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI), based near St Columb.
Chy Lowen Alpacas Tregaswith (CHAT), has been helping children and young adults with a variety of issues for some 16 years. This project sees some 30-40 people a week benefit at no cost because of the generosity of Mary Harvey and Mike Ferkin and those who support them with donations which includes food for their alpacas, lamas and horses.
Turning up with a net of carrots and a ceremonial cheque for their donation of £500, Lion President Jill Bunt was keen to express how important she felt the voluntary work done at the centre was.
“Mary, Mike and their team take referrals from all over the county and, even during the couple of times I have been here, I can see the positive impact this is having on the young people who come together as teams to bond and look after the animals,” said Jill.
“I was chatting to one young woman who will soon go to Duchy College and start studying for an animal management qualification who had been inspired to do this by her experience at CHAT.
“Our donation will help Mary and Mike update some of the equipment needed to keep the centre running safely and we also brought along a net of carrots which seemed to go down pretty well with the animals.”
Mary said: “We really appreciate this help from the Lions. Our aim is to create a relaxed and non-judgemental environment where people feel that they can talk about their problems. Some might call it ‘therapy’ but we think ‘chatting’ is more appropriate and that’s what we encourage at CHAT.
To find out more about CHAT have a look at their facebook page and, to learn about the work which Lions Clubs do in their communities visit www.newquaytowanblystralions.org.uk.