Holly’s Charity – A Little Piece Of Heaven

 Written by Dr. Mark Harrold – Senior Clinical Psychologist with the Irish Health Board :-

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MARK HARROLD

 

In Ireland legend has it that at the end of every rainbow there is a pot of gold. While most of us continue to chase the rainbows in vain, there is a place which is real and is truly magical. It is called Holly’s Horse Haven which is on the border between Northern and Southern Ireland.

If you can imagine a place that rescues abused and vulnerable horses.Imagine then that they welcome people with special needs to come and look after these horses. And then they are supported by volunteers from both sides of the border. Religious and political persuasion are irrelevant. Only the need to support vulnerable members of the community (both people and animals) is what drives this wondrous location. 

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Holly’s is run by Elaine, Joe & family, they had a dream of setting up a rescue center of horses, and when they started this journey they had no idea that it would turn out to be a place where people with special needs  could learn, for the first time, that caring for others is just as important as looking out for themselves. Elaine and Joe welcomed people who had great difficulty adapting to the traditional routine of day care facilities. They have taught our vulnerable adults the importance of caring for others. For once, our people with special needs were learning how to give help and assistance rather than being on the receiving end of it. And for each and every one of them, it has proven to be a life changing experience. They no longer seek attention by acting out or becoming verbally or physically abusive. They have assumed the responsibility of looking after vulnerable animals and have thrived as a result. They recognise that the world does not revolve around them and that they have a lot of assistance and caring to give to vulnerable and needy animals

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 The volunteers, in turn, have been lifted by the presence of people who see the world in a slightly more simplified way than they do. And that has proven to be a hugely enhancing experience for them. Working with people with special needs compels the volunteers to slow down to their pace and to recognise the outstanding qualities people who have been written off by others possess. Joy, positively, non-judgmental and straight-talking are just some of the qualities people with special needs possess. They bring an enthusiasm to their work that most employer only dream about. Always on time and always good humored.

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The animal welfare environment particularly seems to bring out the best in our vulnerable adults. Elaine and Joe are true visionaries. They are driven by the kindness in their hearts. They have opened Holly’s to all comers. Their warmth and generosity emanates from every corner of this little piece of Heaven. It truly does feel like the rainbow’s end. Various entities have collided to create what I consider to be the perfect place. And I have not yet even mentioned the tremendous success they have on an ongoing basis in rehabilitating hundreds of horses every year though out Ireland. But Elaine and Joe do not want to stop there.

Having learned so much from their experiences to date, they want to expand. They want to create a residential unit for vulnerable adults. They are expanding the range of activities available to participants into areas such as horticulture and raising small animals such as chickens, ducks rabbits etc, and dream of creating a state of the art facility right at their centre on the shore of the indescribably beautiful Carlingford Lough & Mourne areas.

The plans are in place!

If you are interested in helping make this dream come true, by supporting expanding their “Holly’s Model” nationwide and in doing so enabling many more people with special needs, community and disadvantaged groups lead meaningful lives in Ireland, please consider coming on board by contacting: Elaine @ hollyscharity@hotmail.com

HELP?

hollyshorsehaven@hotmail.co.uk 

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