A FARM which offers support to disabled youngsters through sheepdog training has welcomed six tiny pups to the family.
Lane End Farm Trust in Abney, Hope Valley saw one of their training dogs, Leela, give birth to the border collie litter last month, all of which are looking for new homes.
“The pups are pure bred border collies from strong working stock and are in excellent health,” said Vivienne Howson, the farm manager. “They have been handled by the young people from day one and are well socialised.”
Although the animals are valuable, the trust is not asking for payment for them, and are instead requesting donations towards the work they do for young people.
“We want them to go to loving homes, and if we can raise awareness of our trust through that then that’s great,” said Vivienne.
Lane End Farm Trust currently has four working sheepdogs - Fleet, Leela, Lou and Trust - who help the youngsters develop confidence in their social and technical skills through connecting with the animals and the world around them.
“Most of the people who come here struggle to engage with and understand other people. The dogs offer an oppurtunity for them to build less complicated relationships,” said Vivienne.
One learner, Aaron Blackwell (22) who suffers with autism, has experienced a transformation since working with the trust.
When he first arrived at the farm, he wouldn’t mix with other people and rarely spoke to anyone. Gradually, through working with Leela, his confidence has improved.
“Working with Leela and the people on the farm has helped him push himself and develop his self-confidence,” said Aaron’s dad, John Blackwell.
“His willingness to take on new challenges because of that has increased.
“When he gets these opportunities to have new experiences, it all adds to his development.”
Vivienne said: “I didn’t think we would be able to help, but the transformation has been remarkable.”
The Trust was set up five years ago by Vivienne, who suffers from a spinal cord injury and is paraplegic.
The farm offers support and accomodation in a converted stone barn which has been specifically designed for wheelchair users, in particular young people paralysed by spinal cord injury themselves.
To find out more about the puppies and rehoming them, or about the work the Lane End Farm Trust do for young people, visit www.lanendfarmtrust.co.uk or call 01433 650043.