‘Whispering Ponies’ visit local care homes

Posted on the 1st June 2019

I had been working on my own self confidence issues at Bodster Community Interest Company when I started volunteering at the beginning of this year on their ‘Whispering Ponies’ project.

We take Tippy, a pony, into care homes to give the residents time to be with her and feel her calming presence. The reaction we get is amazing, but then it’s not every day a pony comes into your house!

My role is to take Polaroid photographs of the residents with Tippy as an instant reminder that they can relate to there and then. Their responses to these photo’s is humbling. Many recount wonderful stories and they do so with fondness and a sparkle in their eyes.

Tippy quite often leads us into residents’ bedrooms, she instinctively knows where she is needed. On one occasion she led us into the room of a gentleman who was close to death and stood by his bed. The initial silence between the two of them was magical. The gentleman then became quite animated, talking and reminiscing.

One lady I met recently didn’t talk. She came around with us as we visited other residents in their bedrooms. As we went to leave, I said goodbye to her and she held my hand and whispered, ‘Thank you’. Her reaction and those two words filled me with joy. This is why I volunteer.

My lack of self-confidence makes social situations very difficult. These visits take me well out of my comfort zone but I’ve jumped in at the deep end and to my amazement I float!

Volunteers’ Week takes place 1 – 7 June each year as a time to celebrate and promote volunteering. I can give back to the community, learn about myself and have begun to bridge the chasm between being a ‘client’ and being a care giver.

Zoe Collard

As a creative person I'm usually found in my studio covered in paint and glue. A hoarder and a collector of cogs.

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