A new family entertainment centre, featuring small animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits and birds, is all set to open this coming weekend at Silverdale in Ballasalla.
The “Dolittle’s Animal Therapy Centre” opens at Cregg Mill in Silverdale on Saturday, and will feature a special event on Sunday in aid of the 10 year old boy Mark Lalor-Smith, who was seriously injured in a car crash in Turkey in May.
The Centre is the brainchild of Sandy Huyton who has been running her voluntary “Dolittle’s” animal therapy organisation for over three years, travelling around the Island providing voluntary animal therapy for the elderly, infirmed and special needs children.
“I?have been searching for a suitable premises for a therapy centre for a long time,” she said. “By chance, I found out about one of the units in Cregg Mill being available, and it offered a large space which felt just right.
“Dolittle’s has been very successful visiting groups in their own premises, but I?have been asked countless times ‘where is your centre?’, so I felt it was well past time to take the plunge and, after several weeks of hard work, the centre is now ready to open to the public.”
Dolittle’s will have a number of small animals on display in the centre, including guinea pigs, rabbits, rescued hedgehogs and a variety of small birds. There will also be occasional “special animal guests”, including birds of prey and a potential world record-breaking rabbit.
As well as the animals, the Dolittle’s Centre also has a “Teddy Bear Orphanage”, featuring lots of teddies, and facilities for children to enjoy drawing and reading. There’s also a much needed “rest area” for parents!
Sandy Huyton added, “All the proceeds from the Centre will be used to fund the therapy work. The whole idea of creating the centre is to raise the profile and to eventually expand the work we do all over the Island.”
The Dolittle’s Centre will be open throughout the year, and will operate six days a week during the school holidays and five days a week for the rest of the year. Opening times for the summer are 12.30 to 4pm weekends and weekdays (Tuesday to Friday).
Photo: Sandy Huyton with one of the therapy animals at the new Silverdale Dolittle's Centre.