Animal therapy provides many sensory experiences to support participants to learn more about themselves and the world around them.

In partnership with Bushbred Horse Assisted Learning Programs, Afford runs a successful animal therapy program at Cherrywood Friendship Farm in Sydney’s west.

The animal therapy program is available for participants of all abilities and those in wheelchairs also actively engage with the animals at the farm.

“Our clients in wheelchairs are supported to get up close with the horses to touch their coats and manes. There are also smaller animals at the farm, so those in wheelchairs can hold them on their laps and feel the different fur textures and look at their different features,” said Serina, Team Leader at Mt Druitt Community Centre.

The animal therapy program supports participants develop life skills such as adapting to social situations, managing their emotions and connecting with the outdoors for a healthy lifestyle.

Mt Druitt Community Centre clients, Bruce, Sabrina, Aaron, Jarrod, Minerva, Greg. M, Kristine, Nu’ua, Rachel, Chris, Robert, Tyson and Bree all look forward to heading out to Cherrywood Friendship Farm for animal therapy.

Dave from Bushbred facilitates the program and provides lots of information and examples of how to care for animals. Everyone also gets the chance to feed and walk the animals around the farm. The farm is home to a variety of animals including, chickens, ducks, guinea pigs, ponies, donkeys, horses, camels, cows and sheep.

“All of our clients that participate in animal therapy learn to build skills that they can use in everyday life. Everyone enjoys the bushland setting of the farm and engaging with the animals to see how they react. It’s a valuable program that helps our clients progress their social and physical skills as well as get involved in an activity that makes them happy,” Serina added.

Find out more about Afford’s Animal Therapy program and many other activities offered through community centres across the country.

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