Let's get started !
How advanced is Equi-Zone?
Equi-Zone is still in the planning stages. We aim to acquire a site as soon as possible and a total of six miniature horses with perhaps some larger animals. The willingness of our animals to interact by choice is really important to us, so training is already under way. We are fortunate to have help from a dedicated and highly skilled volunteer. In addition, expert advice is on-hand from Dr Helen Spence, horse behavioural specialist and advisor to the Mae Murray Foundation.
What will Equi-Zone be like once it is open?
We will open all year round. A social room will let you meet friends, even if our horses are chilling out elsewhere. Some of our ideas include: teaching agility skills, horse care and stable management courses, group games, one to one therapeutic sessions, youth club evenings and friendship mornings.
Equi-Zone will be a social enterprise business. This means that our efforts will be directed to areas of unmet need, whilst ensuring we can be self-sustaining. Sometimes we will run private events for other individuals or organisations. Any money generated will ALWAYS be used to fulfil our charitable aims and, of course, ensure we can take good care of our animal friends in the long-term. Let us know what you think! Please complete our short survey here. All data will be held in accordance with current legislation.
“Pets should certainly not be regarded as a perfect pill for treating ill-health. Nonetheless… animals have the potential to contribute significantly to our well-being and quality of lives, and, as such, should not be overlooked as an alternative, or complementary, form of therapy in modern-day healthcare practices”
– Deborah Wells, Senior Lecturer – Psychology, Queen’s University, Belfast
Where will Equi-Zone be based?
We need a site of up to 20 acres in size for the entire N-cluzion Zone project, of which Equi-Zone will use a portion. Rural land near a main arterial route, within 15 minutes of the M2 and no more than 30 minutes from Belfast, would be ideal.
Here is a snapshot of what you’ve told us already:
"My teenage daughter plays power chair sport and my able-bodied nieces would love to join in with her. Wouldn't it be great if there was an environment where it was the norm for able-bodied people to adapt to join in with the disabled instead of the other way around?"
"At my local park, I never see another child, except my own, with complex nursing needs. Occasionally, people are friendly but generally they just stare or turn away, looking embarrassed."
"Lack of speech is no hindrance to communication with an animal. My daughter lights up! It's fantastic to watch. The power of having a friend who wants to spend time with you should never be underestimated."
"I'd like to meet up with other carers for a cuppa, but it's difficult to organise care for my husband. I want to take him with me, know that he is being well cared for and his brain is being stimulated whilst I'm having a break."
"I get so fed up with the way people talk down to me sympathetically - I have a 'masters' degree' for goodness sake! I know they don't mean any harm but it's so irritating. Concentrated and frequent mixing with differing abilities would create better understanding and a nicer environment for those of us that are often pre-judged."
"I'm a single mum to three children and I care for my aunt who suffers from dementia. I dream of waking up at the weekends and having a place to go which we all enjoy and can meet our needs."
"My son’s last birthday means he has entered ‘adult services’.... re-labelled ‘no services !’ His only regular activity is playing boccia, but we have to accompany him to manage his personal care. Understandably, as an adult he wants to be independent of us. He has a carer who takes him out two days per month but he gets very bored being pushed around the park or shops. We dream of a facility where he could interact with other young people every week at a time which suits him."
"Physically speaking, my brother is able and would love to use an activity centre. Unfortunately, in a confined space, he can't deal with lack of order and intense noise. It would be amazing if he could enjoy a quiet session with a small number of like-minded people."
"I'm 85 and live rurally alone. I've always been a big fan of gardening but my own garden doesn't have any raised beds. I've got access to a good community transport service. I'd like to spend a few mornings a week enjoying gardening in the company of other people, maybe get a cup of tea too!"
We want to create an environment suited to the complex needs of individuals of all ages and abilities within society.
'Inclusive Beaches' is a Mae Murray Foundation led initiative to create inclusion and increase participation in beach environments across Northern Ireland.
No one should be excluded from 'taking part' due to mobility or personal care requirements.
Let’s Get Local
We want to increase participation and independence by offering activity programmes, environments, for a broad range of differing ages and abilities