Donkeys brought in to help with
therapy for needy schoolchildren

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A SCHOOL in West Yorkshire has begun offering “donkey assisted therapy” to pupils with additional needs.

Shirley Manor Primary School in Wyke, near Bradford, has teamed up with the Donkey Sanctuary.

Riding instructor Laura Lambert runs the mobile service by transporting donkeys from The Donkey Sanctuary in Leeds to the school. The donkeys are ridden, petted and groomed as part of a therapy programme which aims to benefit the children both physically and emotionally.

She said: “It has been brilliant that we’ve been able to expand our service to new schools including Shirley Manor.

“This way the schools and the children can benefit from the service which otherwise was too far for them to travel too.

“And we know the children love it. You can see it on their faces and the teachers tell us they see a difference in their behaviour. We’re just delighted we’re able to reach more children.”

Donkey assisted therapy started at the school in May. Since then, a total of 257 children have been helped by the service.

The Donkey Sanctuary is also working with schools in Rochdale and Preston and aims to expand its donkey assisted therapy service to new schools and residential homes countrywide. The programme includes rides games, activities and instruction designed to respond to each child’s needs.

The Donkey Sanctuary has centres in towns and cities including Leeds.