Hopes to create a community farm in Fenland

Katie Bristow with her animals where she brings her dogs and ponies to help people with social problems 'with Biccy and Rascal ANL-151203-083337009
Katie Bristow with her animals where she brings her dogs and ponies to help people with social problems 'with Biccy and Rascal ANL-151203-083337009

An animal therapist is hoping to start a community farm in Fenland to benefit youngsters and their families.

Katie Bristow has been helping to make a difference to communities in other parts of the country with her animal-related therapies and is looking to replicate the success in Fenland.

Miss Bristow, who grew up in Gorefield, has helped struggling youngsters with their behaviour with practical tasks posed by her dogs and ponies.

One of her plans is to bring similar voluntary organisations under one roof at a community farm to provide an ongoing service.

Miss Bristow, who has worked as a clinical psychologist and animal behaviourist, said: “Community farms are useful to help people lead active and healthy lifestyles.

“They could come to one place and be signposted to different areas of environment, education and social care.

“It is very early days. We need to identify the voluntary groups already running in the area to benefit families and young people.”

The community farm could host a number of programmes ranging from cookery and reading.

Miss Bristow has been involved in the work of Hereford Community Farm, which provides land-based activities and training for people with a disability, ill health or social condition.

Hereford also faces problems with smoking and obesity.

Miss Bristow, a co-director of People and Animals, said: “I feel there should be more available for the people of Wisbech and want to apply what I have learned here.”

Miss Bristow and her dogs India and Blake are already running an outreach programme with youngsters in a Fenland children’s home.

Using the dogs, Miss Bristow helps to engage youngsters in a series of tasks which help their education.

Miss Bristow said: “With the dogs in the room, everyone has a common interest to engage with each other.

“It is amazing to watch.”

She also uses her ponies, Rascal and Biccy.

Miss Bristow is also hoping to create a grow a vegetable programme in Wisbech or transform an area into a useful community space.

She is also hoping to run programmes for people with dogs.