Furry Tales is an innovative project at Stepney City Farm that delivers animal-assisted activities to elders in Tower Hamlets.

by merlin@stepneycityfarm.org in London, Greater London, England

We did it
On 21st July 2017 we successfully raised £10,121 with 163 supporters in 28 days

New stretch target

Any additional funding received (past target) would mean we could deliver both onsite and outreach packages for a further 6 months. This in turn would allow us to support hundreds more participants currently facing isolation and disadvantage. Stepney City Farm would receive runnings costs as part of this extension of funding, which would allow Furry Tales to  deliver it's packages in more hospital wards and care homes, host more onsite sessions, train more volunteers, continue to support animal welfare costs at the farm and even expand and improve our housing for the animals we work with.

The more security the project can have, the better it will be able to run, expand and reach out to more people in the community. Please dig deep and help us connect as many people as possible to nature, animals and each other!


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.

TESTIMONIALS

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.

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

£5 Reward

Your name the supporter’s wall at Stepney City Farm. We will write the name of every person that supports us on a building wall at the Farm, because we are hugely thankful to each and every one of you! Come and visit us and see it in all its glory!

£10 or more

£10 Reward

Personalised Furry Tales card, including Polaroid photo of one of our Furry Tales residents. Plus your name on our supporter wall. (Free postage)

£35 or more

£35 Reward

Friends of Furry Tales membership (includes a free Furry Tales themed tour, and 2 hot drinks in our award winning café!) and your name on our supporter wall. Gift card send out with membership details. (Free postage)

£40 or more

0 of 15 claimed

£40 Reward

'Illustrating Animals' - 1 day course guiding you through drawing the beautiful animals at Stepney City Farm (10-4pm) - Sunday 23rd July 2017. Observe, drawn and gently handle rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets & chickens. Learn how to capture the animals form, character and movement in this fun hands on course. NO DRAWING EXPERIENCE NEEDED!

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Personalised Furry Tales craft notebook, badge, card and Polaroid photo of one of our Furry Tales residents. Plus your name on our supporter wall. (Free postage)

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Hot pressed watercolour of one of our small furries (all different) by award winning illustrator Merlin Strangeway. You can see her work at: www.merlinevans.com. Plus your name on our supporter wall.

£150 or more

£150 Reward

Animal Assisted Activity workshop for up to 2 adults and 2 children: pick from guinea pigs, rabbits or ferrets for your bespoke animal handling session with our small furries. Touching and caring for animals has an enormous benefit to mental health and wellbeing, relieving stress and helping people to bond emotionally. Workshops run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until December 2017. Plus your name on our supporter wall.

£250 or more

£250 Reward

Furry Tales Farmer for ½ day. Meet everyone in the Furry Tales team, feed our rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets. Have a personal handling session and learn about AAA and its benefits! Plus your name on our supporter wall.

£400 or more

£400 Reward

A place on a 4 week ‘Drawing Animals’ course at Stepney City Farm with illustrator Merlin Strangeway. Merlin has taught at Illustration at Central Saint Martins, House of Illustration & Camberwell College of Design. Learn traditional brush pen techniques, conte and watercolour and turn series of sketches into final art prints. Plus your name on our supporter wall. Course Dates TBC – 4 Saturdays or Sundays 10.30am – 1pm. Includes all materials.

£700 or more

£700 Reward

We will bring some of our rabbits and guinea pigs, or ferrets to your place of work for you to meet with at lunchtime (Central London only).  This is a programme we usually provide for care homes and day centres, but your office can hugely benefit too! Plus your organisation’s name on our supporter wall.

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