Who are we?
My name is Lauren, I run an educational Animal Encounter business across Essex, and surrounding areas, allowing children and adults to get up close and hands on with our animals.
My team and I visit schools, organisations, care homes, private parties and public displays, all the time educating our audience.
My favourite part of what we offer is our SEN and therapy sessions. Over the years we have met some fantastic children and adults, who don’t usually get the chance to meet any animals, let alone Meerkats or snakes.
What I love most about our sensory sessions is the range of reactions we get from those that we visit, we might visit a dementia unit and by stroking a ferret or holding a tortoise, an area of the residents brain is reawakened and family members can’t believe their normally very quiet relative is sat chatting away about how they used to keep ferrets as a child and reliving fantastic memories they’ve never heard them talk about before.
As a team we put our all into what we do and we have won Best Educational Animal Encounter Business UK 3 years in a row in the Global Entertainment Awards.
What do we want to do?
Due to the many requests from our customers I now wish to create a non-profit static centre where people can come and visit, learn about and get up close to our animals, we have named this ‘Browning’s Zoo and Therapeutic Centre’.
We plan to be open 7 days a week with the Therapeutic Centre running Monday to Friday and our Zoo open to all at the weekend.
Our focus will be on our Therapeutic services, offering an interactive zoo experience aimed at the many people who struggle to go to busy zoos, this may be down to a fear of large crowds, too much noise or generally feeling that the facilities won’t be appropriate for their disability or mental health condition.
There have been hundreds of articles published about Animal Therapy, talking about:
Increasing Social Interaction
Having a calming effect
Decreasing behavioural problems
It has been proven that when people are interacting with animals, seeing them and having physical contact with them, endorphins are released which produce a calming effect and because your mood is improved it increases social interaction, you want to learn about the animal, you ask questions and then to talk about your experience. I have personal experience of this aiding depression and anxiety.
It can even help with:
Increasing Physical Activity
Our facility will be a place where people can have an immersive zoo experience, a space people can visit with peace of mind that no-one will be judging them, they are in a safe place and they don’t need to rush or worry about others. Giving them the opportunity to sit with our animals to fully appreciate their beauty and calming effect.
This will be available for schools, organisations or private bookings where people would be able to visit or book in for one to one sessions with our team, whether that be for a private tour of the facility, a private Educational Animal Encounter or Sensory Session, or simply visit our site and enjoy the animals at their own pace.
We also want to offer work placements and volunteer positions for children, young people and adults who are struggling to attend school or work, to help them get into a routine, regain their sense of purpose and focus so they are able to get back into education or full-time work.
This would include preparing the food and creating enrichment items for our animals to enjoy:
Animals helped me when I was at my lowest, to find my sense of purpose again, and get back into the routine of everyday life and ultimately get back into work, and I really think this facility can do exactly that for many other children and adults.
This will be a place where you can escape the stress and pressure of everyday life, with our support they will gain confidence and reduce the isolation experienced by the many people with disabilities or struggling with their mental health.
You can feel so alone and that there is no help available due to the long waiting lists to see a professional, but having a space you can visit with peace of mind that you are in a safe place and don’t need to worry about anyone else can really help reduce the overwhelming emotions you may be experiencing.
How can you help?
We already have a waiting list of children and adults wishing to take part in our activities and volunteer with us so with your help we can get on the way to building and opening this much needed centre!
We are fundraising so we are able to purchase land to set up on and build our animals enclosures, education centre, disabled facilities such as toilet hoists, changing rooms, sensory room and garden.
With your help we can make a difference to the lives of those living in Essex and surrounding areas.
Thank you so much.