Hi Everybody,

It’s been a while again and whilst I have not been so present in the ‘blogosphere’ my mind has been racing nineteen to the dozen with thoughts and ideas!

We have a LOT going on with HumAnima CIC – at present an application is being put together to apply for funding to deliver Counselling and Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) for free to the deprived communities in Wolverhampton. Haven’t a clue if we’ll be successful but if you don’t ask you don’t get.

I grew up in Wolverhampton, in one of the more deprived areas, so I have seen first hand what it can be like to live in this part of the community. Whilst everybody talks about pushing equality, the reality takes a lot longer to put into action. We can but chip away and push as hard as we can to contribute as much as possible to just one of the many communities that really could benefit from being given a little time, yes, money but most importantly, a listening ear. A multitude of people of different races, backgrounds and ages (to name but a few categories into which people are boxed into…) live in these areas and whilst it might seem obvious that they need money, what they could really do with is empathy, understanding and somebody willing to give them the time of day. Whilst growing up, I met a fair few people that could have been stereotyped as being, not so approachable, scary, stupid, dull or “benefit scroungers” who, if you took a moment to get to know them are in fact friendly (perhaps a bit shy), misunderstood, undervalued, ignored or disabled. In this way I feel I have been most lucky to learn the saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” in practice rather than by rote.

I can only hope that by pushing the HumAnima CIC Community Counselling Project forward that I can give back a little to a community that I learnt a heck of a lot from.

On another front, our first workshops are being put together. The first “Animal Assisted Therapy & Care Farming” will be a days workshop, in the spring, run in collaboration with Growing Rural Enterprise and will introduce farmers to the concept of Animal Assisted Therapy and how that might be incorporated into their farming practice to help them diversify and branch out into care farming. It is hoped that this will be the first of many such workshops with more being planned for later this year. If you want to find out more about this workshop or any others, please email me to find out more.

Other planned workshops for later this year will include:

  • An Introduction to Animal Assisted Therapy
  • Animal Assisted Therapy & Mental Health
  • Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling

It is hoped that by delivering these workshops, or “playshops” as my friend, Horace calls them, “AAT” can be brought to the fore as a recognised, measurable and valid treatment option for clients here in the UK. It is already being applied, in many cases indirectly, across the country, in the form of Animal Assisted Activities or “AAA’s” – think Farm visitation schemes for among others, children and people with learning disabilities.

Excitingly, HumAnima CIC got some live-air coverage on Monday when we (yes, we! Flossie came too and in fact, she was on first name terms with the Security Guard as she was welcomed into the BBC WM studio at the Mailbox in Birmingham! Practically red carpet treatment for the young lady…!) were interviewed by Phil Upton on BBC WM. We were invited to talk about “Pet Therapy” on his Phil Upton @ Breakfast Show (We were on about 2hrs 20min in. You can listen again until the 11/2/12) as the show had decided they would be inviting in a “doggie friend” daily this week on the build-up to Crufts. It was a great morning, very exciting and extreeeeemmmeellly tiring for little Flossie (I don’t think she’s EVER been up at 5:50am before!) but a wonderful experience!

Closer to home, we will soon be offering our services from the long established Equinox Therapy Centre in Wolverhampton City Centre. Equinox has been around for over twenty years and over that time it has built up a loyal and satisfied customer base – I include myself as one of them. As part of the range of treatments and services available at Equinox, you will soon be able to access HumAnima CIC’s counselling and AAT service from their lovely base on Victoria Street. To introduce everyone to our services and the other treatments and services available from Equinox Therapy Centre, there will be a Taster Day held on Saturday 31st March 10:00am – 4:30pm. So come and join us or just come and say hello to Flossie!

So as you can see, there is a lot on the cards and it’s all exciting! So keep your fingers crossed for us, come and say hello to us and find out what we’re about. Flossie and I will look forward to meeting you!