On one of the rare sunny days that the Cornish summer of 2017 has served up me, Rose, and Penny descended upon The Hugs Foundation - albeit after an "interesting" tour of some of the surrounding lanes in the area! It's not the easiest place to find first time around, but a friendly local on his quad bike eventually guided us to the front gate.

We were all met and shown around by Helene, the Therapy Unit Manager, and I think we were all mightily impressed with the facilities and the ethos of the very new charity. The Hugs Foundation is an equine rescue charity set within a farm environment that aims to offer counselling and equine/animal therapy using some of the rescued horses and ponies. Their target groups are vulnerable adults, young people and those suffering from poor mental health.

At the time of our visit there were 19 rescued ponies and horses on the 35 acre site, as well as chickens, sheep and a fledgling  garden area. Volunteers were already on site and engaged in a variety of exciting opportunities: mucking out the stables, riding, repairing farm buildings, gardening, making bird tables and nesting boxes. 

Although it is still early days for the charity they are aiming to offer services that include Talking therapy, Group and 1 to 1 Therapy, Fostering resilience, Walking and Talking, Informal Learning, Learning New Skills, Building Self-esteem and Confidence, Back to Work Skills, Gardening, Help with Social Anxiety, Volunteering, Bush Craft/Forest skills, Animal Care, and Team Building.

Myself (as VIVA project officer), Penny (as East Cornwall's Community Maker) and Rose (in her Your Way/Timebanking role) could all see potential for working with the charity and we also made sure to mention all the other relevant provision that Volunteer Cornwall offers and that might be appropriate for Hugs to consider (eg. Corporate/Team Volunteering and our Training provision). Rose, in particular, identified 5 potential clients that could be signed up for the Timebanking Your Way project. 

We weren't ALL business though, and at least one of us had a little "chicken therapy" whilst we were there (see pic!)

If you want any more information about the Hugs Foundation please visit their website at www.hugsfoundation.org.uk