AN animal assisted wellbeing service in Dukinfield has opened an exciting new facility as part of a National Lottery funded project.
Opened on December 11, Hoppy Huts are an extension of the existing Noah’s ART programme based at The Together Centre.
Noah’s ART supports people of all ages in the recovery of their mental and physical health through their love of animals.
The Huts will provide outdoor areas to allow for the delivery of nature-based therapies, including arts and crafts, bunny yoga, dog agility and many others.
They also offer an extension of available therapy space at the centre, as well as enhanced classroom facilities, to support even more training programmes.
Sharon Hall, Noah’s ART lead therapist, said: “When the coronavirus pandemic hit, we realised we needed a larger outdoor space for our therapy programmes.
“The Hoppy Huts idea developed from there as a place where we could continue to meet with people in a safe, socially distanced environment.
“We had received some money from the lottery to build the huts, part of which we used in conjunction with own reserves to construct them.”
Hoppy Huts are a multi-purpose facility that, in addition to therapeutic services, will eventually host the Hoppy Huts Theatre and Dog Café.
With the project due to get underway in February, Sharon continued: “Noah’s ART and Hoppy Huts cater to people of any age; we’ve worked with babies to pensioners.
“Our therapy spaces allow us to work with them on both a one-to-one basis and in socially distanced groups to help build their confidence through their shared love of animals.
“We hope, once things return to normal, to re-open our dog café where people can bring their pet and meet other owners; it’s an outlet to help tackle loneliness and isolation.
“We’re also collaborating with the pupil referral unit at White Bridge College to pilot the Hoppy Huts Theatre, where young people tell the animals’ stories through acting and singing.
“We just hope people will be interested and encouraged to support us, as we try to promote good mental health and physical wellbeing in these unprecedented times.”
• For more information on the Hoppy Huts and Noah’s ART, visit their website at www.noahs-art.co.uk