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£5,000 needed to help miniature donkeys continue their uplifting work in Norfolk and Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 13:11 26 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:42 06 November 2017

Donkeys from Mini Donkeys for Wellbeing  at Heron Lodge care home in Wroxham. Photo: Kingsley Healthcare

Donkeys from Mini Donkeys for Wellbeing at Heron Lodge care home in Wroxham. Photo: Kingsley Healthcare

Kingsley Healthcare

These little donkeys have helped put a smile back on countless people's faces and now these animals need your help.

Donkeys from Mini Donkeys for Wellbeing with paitents from Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCHC). Photo: NCHCDonkeys from Mini Donkeys for Wellbeing with paitents from Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCHC). Photo: NCHC

These little donkeys have helped put a smile back on countless people’s faces - and now they need your help.

The four miniature donkeys belong to Sarah McPherson and are part of Mini Donkeys for Wellbeing, a group which visits cares homes and other organisations to help boost the mood of people around them.

The social enterprise was established after Ms McPherson’s mother died earlier this year.

She found the donkeys she kept at her home in Hempnall, south of Norwich, had a magical effect on her mother, who had dementia, better than any medicine.

MORE: Donkey visits work wonders for hospital patients and care home residents

The donkeys first started their visits in May and now demand is so high, £5,000 needs to be raised to keep their work going.

“It’s an ongoing appeal as what we really need is a horse lorry,” said Ms McPherson.

“I have been using my partner’s van to transport the donkeys to jobs but there has been such a high demand for the donkeys that he hasn’t been able to use the van all summer.

“We just need something we can transport the donkeys, equipment and volunteers to visits in.”

When the group was first set up the donkeys mainly visited care homes for people with dementia.

On a visit to Heron Lodge care home in Wroxham, a German woman who no longer speaks burst into speech when the animals arrived and started taking to the donkeys.

But now the group, also known as Mini Donks, is expanding its visits to autism clubs, luncheon groups and even school Christmas fetes.

And Ms McPherson said all the feedback they get from people is always very positive.

“I am a bit bias but donkeys are very pretty to look at,” she said. “People always comment on their eyes and eyelashes and as ours are miniature donkeys they are very well kept and very soft to touch.

“They are also very calm and they react to people, we have had times where they have just popped their heads on people’s shoulders which is really lovely.”

As well as money for the horse lorry, the group is also seeking donations to cover feed, vet bill’s and insurance for the donkeys.

A JustGiving page has been set up to reach the £5,000 target and donations have already started to come in.

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/minidonks

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