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Through this crowdfunding campaign we want to secure the charity’s future and purchase a piece of land to give the sanctuary a permanent home.
A place where we can develop facilities such as, an educational centre for children with special educational need. These pupils will not only be able to interact with the sheep but learn about the care and welfare of the animals, which could potentially lead to a certificate of achievement.
Currently, we are having to rent land to house the rescued animals, so not only are we using vital funds but also wasting volunteer time travelling to all six locations every day. This valuable time could be better spent on allowing more visits from both the local community and children with special education needs.
To allow us to develop as a charity and to benefit more people of all age groups we need a central location where all sheep can reside and facilities can be developed on a permanent basis.
Emma & Grace Chilling in the Field
How can we do this together?
To achieve our dreams of giving Sheep Ahoy a permanent home, the charity itself needs to purchase land. This will secure our future and allow permanent facilities to be created on that site.
A kind donor has offered to match any donations to this project up to £50,000!
Please can you help us as this is an opportunity that we cannot miss!
Julia & Young Valentine
A Bit About The Charity and The Three Fold Benefits that SHEEP AHOY Brings to Everyone from the Local Community to Local Schools
When Sheep Ahoy first opened its gates, its primary purpose was to be a rescue charity providing a safe haven for those unfortunate animals who had been suffering neglect and cruelty or who had been brought to us because they were injured or ill. Julia Wilmshurst, joint founder with her daughter Emma, would be the first to tell you that initially, giving the sheep a home where they were ‘Safe for Life’ was her sole passion.
It was only as the flock started to build and Julia spent more and more time tending to their welfare that she came to realise that when she was in the company of these gentle souls that she found a peace of her own. Julia herself suffers from anxiety and often you will find her just sat quietly with a sheep resting their head on her lap in mutual affection and peace.
The flock went in a few short years from three sheep to nearly sixty residing over six locations.
Fundraising to support them became a priority.
Through the fundraising events the local community has taken the charity to its heart and with that, the list of volunteers is growing monthly.
It was only in discussion with the volunteers that over time and as trust grew, that Julia realised many of them had gravitated towards Sheep Ahoy because of anxiety issues of their own and we started to make the connection that in caring for the sheep, the volunteers reaped an unexpected benefit of their own.
Whilst they came initially to support the charity, they had been drawn in by the sense of tranquility they found, that in being with the sheep and following the care routines and developing relationships with the animals they found purpose, mutual affection and an unexpected form of healing.
A couple of our volunteers that work with young people with special educational needs, suggested that Sheep Ahoy could help these pupils and especially those that had high anxiety issues.
Sheep Ahoy started to reach out to the local schools and we now have regular students coming, accompanied by staff members, to interact with the sheep or to just be in a relaxed outdoor environment.
Some of the young people really engage with the sheep, some just feed them biscuits and the carers are happy with that as a positive experience is a good one.
We are now making plans to develop this outreach and to bring those benefits to more young people.
We hold open days for the community to come and be in close company of the sheep. Our visitors range from babes in arms to the elderly and wheelchair users and we are constantly devising ways to improve access and the benefits that we provide.
The rewards are wonderful when we see a young child hug a sheep gently and the delight on a person's face when a sheep gives them their trust and affection for the first time.
In short, we have threefold benefits. By rescuing and caring for the sheep, we give opportunities for not just our volunteers but the whole community to experience the rewards of our love and care for these beautiful animals and in return they give us so much more.
Summary of Benefits
Everyone who spends time with the sheep says how loving, intelligent, empathic the animals are and how the humans themselves come away feeling refreshed and relaxed.
Spending time with the sheep allows people to forget about their day-to-day problems and focus on caring for the sheep who all have individual characters.
The local community enjoys visiting and interacting with the sheep. Many people walk to the main Sheep Ahoy field to feed the sheep with fruit and vegetables and fuss the sheep.
The sheep are very well known to the local community and the nearby care home will bring residents down to the field in their wheelchairs to allow them to see the sheep. Residents of the care home enjoy a chat with the sheep and fussing them too.
The charity would like to open up the rescue for more people to access on a regular basis instead of just being able to do so at specific events. That way more people can enjoy 'Sheep Time'.
Your support will benefit our community by allowing Sheep Ahoy Animal Rescue to develop its facilities to allow people to visit and learn about the welfare needs of sheep and goats.
Sheep Ahoy is run by a wonderful team of volunteers who greatly enjoy helping out and caring for the sheep at the charity. NO money is spent on wages, we all do this for the love of the animals.
Can you help us raise money to buy this all important land to secure the future of the charity and to help more people in the future?
And now for some fun!
Why not take a look at this fun BBC Radio Kent interview which has been put to Sheep Ahoy images ... Enjoy and thank you for your time.