We take small, furry and feathery animals (guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens & ferrets) to meet isolated older adults facing disadvantage. These creatures offer comfort physically and emotionally, and bring about much conversation, reminiscence and above all, laughter. Furry Tales offers a unique kind of support to hundreds of people living with dementia, varying mental and physical health conditions, hospital in-patients and those living in residential and nursing homes in East London. Our grant funding runs out at the end of August 2017. We really need YOUR help to continue to deliver our project.
We run the only animal-assisted-activities social club for those over 65 in the borough at the Farm, which has cultivated many important new connections and friendships.
Animals from Stepney City Farm have also been out visiting older people in need in our community, creating a connection with those who can no longer make it to the Farm.
With your help we want to deliver:
- Weekly animal-assisted-activities (AAA) social club at the farm for those over 65.
- Deliver two ‘Outreach AAA Packages’ to local residential care facilities for up to 20 elders. (packages run for 6 weeks)
- Promote Stepney City Farm & Furry Tales Club to new day centre resources, sheltered housing projects and local agencies.
- Develop an engaging, research-led visual resource & activity pack on AAA, that can be marketed to healthcare providers.
Why it's a great idea:
1. With dementia costing the UK in excess of £26 bn (Alzheimer’s Society) and loneliness as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Campaign to End Loneliness), there has never before been such a drastic need for innovative ways of engaging with elders.
2. The number of people over 80 is expected to increase by 23% over the next decade and yet health and social care budgets continue to suffer.
3. Isolation, loneliness and depression are huge concerns for older people in Tower Hamlets – 47% of the 15,500 people aged 65+ live alone.
4. Furry Tales provides an imaginative solution by drawing on the community’s existing resources to connect people and services to the natural world and, therefore, each other. We have a long successful history of working closely with care homes, day care centres, GPs and other NHS services, all of whom say there is a need for this service.
100% of those we work with say there is a need for this service and want to work with us again.
- ‘It’s so relaxing! I love stroking their little ears. It makes me calm’ (Participant)
- ‘Lovely. There’s nothing that quite compares to an animal.’ (Participant at outreach session)
- ‘The whole day was absolutely great… I think anyone who's on a downer, which enough people are, it'll lift their spirits. It's brilliant, so what can I say… When are we coming back?!’ (Participant at onsite session)
- ‘I never knew that about him! Really amazing!’ (OT sharing her delight at having learnt new things about one of her patients)
- ‘There should be more services like this all over London… The members would like to see more of this service offered to people who are socially isolated and lonely.’ (Sundial Day Care Centre)
Any funds raised over and above our target will go towards helping meet the day to day core running costs of the farm.