Unique Fife project taps into benefits of animals to support siblings separated in care
and live on Freeview channel 276
Today is World Animal Day (October 4), an annual event which aims to raise the status of animals around the world.
To mark it, The National Lottery is highlighting the wonderful stories of how animals through some of its funded projects and charities throughout the UK are putting their best paw forward to help people in need across the country.
National Lottery funding goes towards a wide range of animal related projects – from city and community farms; funding the training of rescue dogs that help emergency services during natural disasters; projects that support people with disabilities and behavioural issues; and projects that provide animal assisted therapy – to support people and improve their wellbeing.
One of the organisations it hass supported is STAR Siblings Reunited in Fife.
The charity is Scotland’s only service which helps to re-unite siblings who have been separated in the care system.
It was given a cash boost by The National lottery of £60,000 in 2019 for its animal project. R
un from its unique farmland setting, it provides a safe, fun and exhilarating learning environment where children can foster emotional bonds and help overcome the trauma associated with being separated from their siblings in a natural, calming and fun environment.
The Fife charity was launched in 2013 by founder Karen Morrison, with the aim to help reunite families.
Karen, who provided foster care for children, said: “Seeing their little faces, it was just devastating the way they had the weight of the world on their shoulders.
“The animals help in lots of way. Many of the children haven't had many role models growing up and we're able to help them care for the animals and show them how to give the love to the animals. That's been massive.
“We had a four-year-old who wouldn't talk - quite a traumatised little girl. We took her to the animal farm, and that's where we first heard her speak – when she was stroking the animals.
“She didn't trust grown-ups, but she could trust the animals and it really helped bring her on with her confidence and her trust.
“That just goes to show the power that animals can have with people – that unspoken emotional connection.”
The STAR Siblings Reunited project operates from a farm near Cupar and gives siblings an opportunity to spend quality time together –the charity has enabled over 300 estranged siblings to be reunited.
More than £30 million goes to good causes from The National Lottery across the country every week, making vital projects like these possible.
The charity has expanded its work thanks to the National Lottery grant in 2019. It has enabled them to provide volunteer supervised contact for siblings separated through foster care, residential care, adoption or kinship care.
Now with more demand than ever, the funding from The National Lottery has proved vital in helping STAR Siblings Reunited run smoothly.
Karen added: “The National Lottery has helped massively. We were the first charity of its kind and we're a really different charity. The National Lottery took that leap of faith with us and they gave STAR a chance to take off and here we are now.”
It has long been known that animals serve as a source of comfort and support for people and for many - nothing compares to the joy of coming home to a loyal companion. But it’s not just love and companionship in our daily lives they offer as David Knott, Interim CEO at The National Lottery Community Fund, explains:
“Thanks to National Lottery players, these projects and the incredible animals they work with are changing people’s lives,” he says.
“Whether helping to improve mental health, reduce loneliness or providing a physical support, they are boosting people’s wellbeing and confidence so that they can better prosper and thrive."