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TSB Community Partner - Victoria Barrett

TSB Community Partner - Victoria Barrett

Founder of Simply Alpaca, a remarkable animal therapy service which helps people come to terms with trauma and mental health issues.

Victoria, 55, came up with the idea for alpaca therapy after working as a paramedic for more than 30 years. She is also a trained counsellor, helping people battling depression and mental health problems.

She knew that spending time with animals can be good therapy for a range of symptoms and conditions, and so after leaving West Midlands Ambulance Service, she set up Simply Alpaca.

Now people from all walks of life including children in the care system and people with autism, come to nurture and care for the animals, which in turn builds confidence and self-esteem while reducing anxiety and depression.

Victoria says: “They are responsive and don’t mind who you are or what you look like. A child I work with who is in foster care struggles with empathy and social cues. But being with the alpacas has changed everything.”

Based in Worcester, she also takes the animals into nursing homes to give residents a boost.

Victoria adds: “Holding and stroking animals can reduce blood pressure, lower pulse rates and alleviate feelings of tension and anxiety. The animals offer attention and unconditional acceptance.”