A non-profit farm in Altham is to launch a new scheme which will use their on-site animals to tackle loneliness and mental health issues.
The Chuckery Farm on Bell Lane is launching ‘Chicken Chats’ once a week from 18 April.
People can visit the farm’s chickens, pigs, goats and more if they need some “time out” after “struggling with life’s ups and downs”.
Tim and Tracy Harrison, who run the farm, said visitors can feel free to talk about their issues with a hot cup of tea.
Tracy said: “People can come and have a chat – even if they don’t want to have a chat they can just come and have a look at the animals.
“It’s amazing how many times people have had a chicken on their laps and told me how soothing it is.
“It just seems to really help people with mental health, giving them something different to see and do.”
Tim said: “I think it’s because an animal just loves you for who you are. If you spend time with them, they ask for nothing in return.
“It’s more relaxing than having your phone going off and people taking pictures for Instagram. You can just get away from it all.”
Tim and Tracy have been running Chuckery Farm, which they describe as a “non-profit hobby” for seven years.
It is entirely self-funded and what started out as a chicken coop with just four hens soon evolved into a bigger project, filled with rescue poultry and livestock.
Now they have ducks, geese, goats, pigs, birds and more on their 48 acres of land; in the future they hope to house alpacas and rescue donkeys.
Tim and Tracey started the scheme both to help both unwanted poultry and also to combat their own mental health issues.
Now, they hope The Chuckery can bring the same level of joy to others who are struggling, especially after seeing the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on people’s mental health.
Tracy said: “We’ve had people say such lovely things to us throughout the pandemic when they have visited and chatted to us.
“I think the farm has kept people going in the pandemic which is why we wanted to start Chicken Chats.
“I think there is a real need for something like this, especially now more than ever as so many people’s mental health issues have taken a dip during the pandemic.”
In the future, they hope to introduce mental health talks at Chicken Chats which will be hosted by a professional.
To keep up-to-date with The Chuckery Farm, visit their Facebook page.