People are celebrating after a charity that helps children through animal assisted therapy has been saved from closure. CHAT which uses animals such as llamas, alpacas and ponies was threatened with closure by Cornwall Council – despite the council regularly referring children to this charity.
CHAT Chy Lowen, near St Columb, provides a valuable and free service to Cornwall’s children through animal assisted therapy (AAT).
However Cornwall Council, despite being one of the main users of the service, had threatened to close it down, due to a planning matter.
Local Member of Parliament Steve Double, along with many affected users, past and present had written to Cornwall Council protesting the decision, and subsequently guided the site operators through a new planning application to get the required permissions to stay open, which was granted this week.
Commenting, Steve said:
“I am delighted that Cornwall Council has seen sense and allowed this planning application, which has safeguarded this vital and unique service for our youngsters.”
“I visited Mary and her team at CHAT last year and was blown away by the enthusiasm in which they carry out their work, and the transformative impact it has undeniably had on many of the service users.”
“It has been a long wait for all involved but thankfully the right outcome has been achieved, This is a victory for common sense and I must pay tribute to everyone who took the time to write to me and the council about it.”
“I look forward to seeing CHAT continue to deliver AAT for the children of Cornwall for years to come.”
Commenting, CHAT operator Mary Harvey said:
“We are celebrating the fact that we can carry on our work of ten years and the kids will benefit.”
“Thanks to all the people who helped with the application, we are very grateful for all of your support!”