THERAPY sessions with farm animals are up and running again thanks to donations during the lockdown period.

Dedham Therapy Farm has provided animal facilitated therapy for people who suffer with mental health issues or learning disabilities for nearly a decade.

The farm is also home to calming nurture dogs which help relax those with phobias, anxiety and autism as well as students concerns about exams.

The sessions the charity provides are tailored to the individual or group, but generally involve caring for animals and learning other practical skills on the farm, to give people routine, confidence, or mindfulness and relaxation.

However, the farm has been struggling to run since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

For months it has relied on a £10,000 government grant and the kindness of donors to keep the charity running.

A Crowdfunding page was also launched as the farm’s owners were concerned the charity would not be able to exist in the future without donations.

A statement from the farm said it relied on income from therapy session, as well as cash donations from the public visiting at weekends to cover the cost of feeding the animals, maintaining the land and paying the staff.

However, following its online fundraising appeal, the farm is “beginning to return to a new normal” and is now able to continue therapy sessions.

More than £1,000 was raised through the farm’s Crowfunding page during lockdown and the therapy sessions can now be run at a social distance.

A spokesman said: “Everyone at Dedham Therapy Farm would like to thank each and every one of you for your donations and support during this difficult time. Times are still tough but we are beginning to return to a new normal and continue our therapy sessions.”

At present, the farm is unable to hold as many sessions or have the amount of farm assistants as it had before lockdown.

She added: “The income from the therapy sessions and the kind donations that we receive keep the farm open and running.

“Due to restrictions still in place to keep us all safe, this is still very much reduced.”

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