Children left traumatised from domestic violence in Port Stephens will soon be able to take part in horse therapy.
Salamander Bay Recycling on Friday donated $10,000 to the cause that will be coordinated through Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services.
PFANS elected to put the money into the therapy having witnessed positive results from an earlier trial. It will chose those families who will benefit most.
“This trauma-informed therapy is not something we’ve had the opportunity to do on an ongoing basis before,” PFANS co-manager Sue Pollock said.
“Children exposed to domestic violence have difficulty regulating their emotions and this quite often results in them getting in trouble at school and even suspensions.”
Selected families will take part in the therapy at Horse Tales, Glen Oak. Experienced therapists explain to the children some basic horse psychology that in term helps their own state of mind.
“The trainers talk to them about breathing and body language – the things horses respond to – by the end of the session the horses are happily following them around,” Ms Pollock said.
“It’s really helpful because the social workers can remind them later about the experience and what they did with their breathing.”
PFANS only took delivery of its first crisis accommodation unit in Raymond Terrace last month.
Salamander Bay Recycling chairman Alan Cloke said his staff had only recently dropped off hand bags filled with items like makeup and women’s hygiene products for PFANS to give to women who come through the unit.
He said the $10,000 donation came without strings but he was pleased it would assist the children.
“I spent a lot of time with horses when I was younger and I can really appreciate how sensitive they are and I can see how this will work,” Mr Cloke said.
Salamander Bay Recycling is a not-for-profit benevolent organisation that has already distributed $20,000 to Port Stephens charities this year.
“We’re really looking to work more collaboratively with organisations like PFANS, among others, and that might be financially or with in-kind support,” Mr Cloke said.
“We want to help as many different organisations as we can.
“People sometimes grizzle about paying a couple of dollars for something from our retail shop, or can’t understand why we don’t take used mattresses, but it’s through our activities we can give back to the community.”