A therapeutic animal-assisted interventions project founded at Stepney City Farm in 2013. Working with care homes, day care centres and NHS services, the project provided a means for older adults in Tower Hamlets - often those living with dementia or social isolation - to connect with their local city farm, spending time with small farm animals and forming new relationships within the community.

Furry Tales created a much needed space for people of different ages to slow down, sit together and share their stories. Brought together by a curiosity and fascination for animals, participants would spend time watching, learning about and caring for chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets, either onsite at the Farm or during outreach sessions with care providers. Participants spoke of the project as something that brought them new friendships, opportunities and a reconnection to purpose, whilst the presence of the animals brought humour, comfort, non-judgemental companionship and a joyful anchor to the present moment.

Furry Tales also formed part of the Tower Hamlets Green Care Partnership, as coordinated by the Women's Environmental Network. The THGCP explored the potential of partnership working between Tower Hamlet's largest green spaces - Stepney City Farm, Spitalfields City Farm, Mudchute Park & Farm and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park - in order to streamline mental health referrals and ensure best practice within green care.

Running from 2013 to 2019, Furry Tales was funded by UnLtd, Merchant Taylors' CCI, Peabody Housing, The Mercers' Company, Gateway Housing and NHS Tower Hamlets CCG, amongst others.

© Ione Maria Rojas. Wix.com

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