An animal charity that provides therapeutic interaction sessions for children and young people with learning difficulties has had a water supply installed.
The Lylac Ridge Animal Learning Centre, in Risca, received a £25,900 grant from the EU-funded South East Wales Community Economic Development Programme to install the supply.
The grant also supported new field shelters and IT and classroom equipment.
The new mains supply means the centre’s 100 animals, that include goats, ducks, chinchillas and chipmunks now have fresh drinking water.
Lylac Ridge Business Manager, Jakki Raynel, said: “Life for us and the participants would mean transporting water to the project or praying for rain so that we could harvest the water.
“The hot summer last year was really hard for us – we ran out of harvest water quickly and our animals needed double the normal amount.
“Having mains water, which seemed unachievable at one point, is like being at the end of a rainbow with a constant pot of gold.”
Lylac Ridge own four acres of land and manage 16 acres for Caerphilly County Borough Council at Dan-y-Graig.
The centre provides qualifications for young people with additional learning needs, in animal care, horticulture and woodland skills and gives the opportunity for children to learn about animals and the environment they live in.
Sharon Peters, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Social Economy Development Officer, said: “Lylac Ridge aims, through animal intervention, to tackle issues of education and exclusion among young people with limited social skills, raise an awareness and understanding of alternative education and enable young people to interact with others and build their confidence and self-esteem.
“These transferable skills can then be harnessed to address issues and situations the young person needs to control, such as anger management and behaviour issues.”
Among the young people the social enterprise has helped is 20-year-old Jaimie.
Before she arrived she had few social skills, difficulty following instructions and rarely left the house without her mother.
Today Jaimie is much more independent and goes to the farm every Sunday to feed, water and clean out the animals.
She also raises her own chickens and runs a small business selling their eggs.