Alpacas headed for The Oasis!
The Oasis site, home of our Lincolnshire branch, could soon be seeing some new furry faces, as some alpacas join the team!
The Oasis is a social and therapeutic garden, a peaceful and restorative environment in which young people can improve their physical and mental health. Animals of all sorts have a way of connecting with people and The Oasis team have been asked if they can offer more in the way of animal therapy. After a visit to an alpaca breeder, they believe these lovely animals will be a perfect answer.
Since moving to their current location at Cherry Willingham a couple of years ago, the team have worked hard to develop and equip the site to be both welcoming and productive. In 2017-18, it was utilised by 148 children and young people. The team provided focused support for a number of these young people to improve their self-esteem, help them understand their own choices and assist them in learning to manage their emotions. The alpacas will be a key part of this support for future young people.
Starting with 3 young males, The Oasis will be able to offer time with the animals to marginalised young people. The young people can take the alpacas for a walk, help look after them or just spend time building a trusting relationship with one particular alpaca. Once the team is confident in their knowledge of alpacas, The Oasis can purchase a few females and start breeding. Who doesn’t love a baby animal? A fluffy, friendly alpaca baby will steal anyone’s heart!
Alongside animal therapy, the alpacas will contribute their fleeces. Young people will be able to try felting and other crafts, some nice warm indoor winter activities for the less hardy young people!
The Lincolnshire team are endeavouring to build The Oasis into a social enterprise which generates a sustainable income to support the work with young people. Everything currently on site earns its keep and the alpacas will be no exception. They will be sheared once a year and their fleeces can be sold raw; cleaned and used for felting or spun into wool. These will not only be activities for young people to participate in, but also be run as workshops for adults, who will pay to attend. There are plans to offer alpaca trekking to the public. Children’s birthday party packages are also being considered, as are the possibilities of alpaca visits to schools, care homes and dementia groups. In the future, the young alpacas will be sold.
The land for the alpacas has been earmarked. What needs to be done now is the raising of money: for sturdy fencing, for a field shelter and, of course, for the alpacas!
If you'd like to organise a fundraiser to help The Oasis add alpacas to their team, please contact Alison Merryman, Branch Leader, or get in touch with us at Head Office.