How alpacas became pal-pacas with Trafford residents

Meet the newest recruits in Trafford Council’s efforts to build self-confidence and encourage friendships – alpacas!

People from Trafford Council’s Supported Living services went on a walk with alpacas in the lovely Calderdale countryside.

Supported living is a service designed to help people with a wide range of support needs retain their independence by being supported in their own home.
While out and about, they were able to have a chat and find friends, as well as grow in confidence – with a firm focus being the furry friends they were looking after.

Organiser and Team Leader Leesa Banks explained the reasoning behind it all:

“Many of the people we help through Supported Living have been particularly vulnerable during the Covid pandemic and so haven’t really been able to go out due to the shielding restrictions.

“I thought this would be a great way for them to get used to being outdoors and socialising with people again.

“It may have seemed strange but it brought as smile to people’s faces and will be a great talking point for them.”

Cllr Jo Harding, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Adult Services, added:

“During the pandemic, our priority has been to protect vulnerable people.

“Even with vaccinations and restrictions easing, we still have to be careful but we also have to focus on people’s mental health needs as well. This is a brilliant way of doing that, while enjoying the great countryside.”

The alpaca walking is a family-run business near Hollingworth Lake, to the north of Rochdale – but the South American mammals don’t have to stay in the countryside.

Organiser Leesa Banks added:

“For people with mobility problems they can even bring the Alpacas to care homes and can be led into residents’ rooms. The alpacas are also halter led and toilet trained!

“I am hoping to introduce new activities for the people we support on a regular basis to hope to encourage friendships and build self confidence in people. It’s sure to be beneficial for wellbeing since the isolation of lockdown.”

Posted on Wednesday 23rd June 2021