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Charity transforming young lives through animal encounters searches for new home

PUBLISHED: 20:34 22 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:44 23 April 2019

Hellesdon based Angelica's Rainbow have started a fundraising campaign to pay for a new home. Photo: Submitted

Hellesdon based Angelica's Rainbow have started a fundraising campaign to pay for a new home. Photo: Submitted

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A charity which uses animal encounters to help young people deal with mental health problems is searching for a new home.

Lora Steggles, founder of Hellesdon based Angelica's Rainbow, with Angelica the sheep. Photo: SubmittedLora Steggles, founder of Hellesdon based Angelica's Rainbow, with Angelica the sheep. Photo: Submitted

Angelica's Rainbow currently offers work placements and volunteer opportunities from its base at the Malprit Arms on Hellesdon Road, Norwich, but said it needs a bigger headquarters to house its growing animal family.

Since launching in February 2016, the charity has taken on ponies, sheep, guineapigs, chinchillas, insects, snakes, a bearded dragon and a hamster, but said it hopes to grow the family further once it has more space.

To raise the vital funds needed to secure the move, the volunteer team held an open day at the Malprit community centre on Monday (April 22), which raised more than £100.

Lora Steggles, who founded the organisation, said having one-on-one experiences with animals could be transformative for young people with social and emotional problems.

Poppy the Shetland pony preparing for the Angelica's Rainbow fundraiser. Photo: SubmittedPoppy the Shetland pony preparing for the Angelica's Rainbow fundraiser. Photo: Submitted

The 34-year-old said: “A lot of young people who live in the city don't come into contact with animals. There are areas around here struggling with knife and gang crime and we give them a different opportunity and outlook on life. It helps ease their anxiety because the animals don't judge and it's a very peaceful place.“

Ms Steggles was inspired to found the organisation after suffering a period of severe mental illness a few years ago while training in animal care.

She said: “I met a sheep called Angelica, who was dying of pneumonia. I begged my boss to let me take care of her and it saved my life. Going down to see her three times a day gave me a reason to keep going. I wanted to share that with others.”

Currently, limited resources mean visitors have to book appointments if they want to drop in, but Ms Steggles said having a purpose built base would allow them to expand the services on offer.

Hellesdon based Angelica's Rainbow organised a  fundraiser to support its bid for a new home. Photo: SubmittedHellesdon based Angelica's Rainbow organised a fundraiser to support its bid for a new home. Photo: Submitted

Ms Steggles added: “All the events we run are raising money for this next step – every single penny we get the more we can offer.”

On Saturday, May 4, the organisation will host a 'field fundraiser' at the Marlpit Pub on Hellesdon Road, which will feature animal handling, sheep shearing and a sponsored head shave by Ms Steggles.

To donate to Angelica's Rainbow, visit JustGiving.

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