Four goats and two sheep took over the Bishop of Gloucester’s garden, in a project to build confidence and self-esteem with women from the Nelson’s Trust Centre.
Charity Delilah’s Umbrella brings farm animals to meet people who want to become more relaxed. Sometimes that could be people with mental health conditions, sometimes people who want to change certain behaviours and even people with a stressful job who want to take some time out.
Jo Fear, Manager of Gloucester Women’s Centre said, “We knew that the women having some experience interacting with animals can help them to regulate their actions and their body language. We know that the goats will only interact with them when they are calm. If they are anxious or frustrated then the goats will read that body language. We’ve done it before with horses, but never with goats. It’s brilliant. We try to work with women ‘outside the box’. We try to be creative in the way that we interact with our clients.”
Jackie, one of the women who took part in the morning said, “It was so nice. We were able to take the goats for a little walk around Bishop’s garden and it was lovely.”
Natasha Groom is the Founder of the charity. She said, “When I was about 15, I went to the 3 Counties show with my mum and my nan and we walked past a pen of Kune Kune piglets. I couldn’t resist them, and we ended up taking home Philli and Delilah – and so Delilah’s Umbrella began.
“I have been through personally quite a bit of childhood trauma and so I struggled very much in my early years with mental health problems – depression, anxiety, self-harm… and having these pigs allowed me to sit in the middle of a field with absolutely no one else around. It allows me to find peace and have a bit of a reset. I found myself sitting there doing my revision work for my maths GCSE.”
She said that she did not find talking therapies very helpful for her own mental health and wanted to help increase treatment options for people who would like to find some calm, space and a listening ear.
“You can vent as much as you like, and they can’t answer back,” she added. “They can’t tell you that you’re wrong, that your feelings might not be valid. People’s reactions to mental health can be so varied and a lot of the time, not very positive, and so I think to be able to release whatever’s on your mind without a fear of what the reaction would be is hugely important.”
You can find out more about Delilah’s Umbrella on their website delilahsumbrella.co.uk and more information about the work The Nelson Trust does is here nelsontrust.com