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Alpaca surprise boosts student wellbeing ahead of half-term

LEADING Welsh independent school Christ College Brecon welcomed a herd of furry friends as part of a wellbeing afternoon for young pupils.

Six alpacas from local business Alpaca My Boots visited the school ahead of the half term holiday on October 23, surprising twenty-three year 7 pupils during their personal and social education (PSE) lesson.

Based at Blaenrheon Farm in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Alpaca My Boots allows adults and children to experience walking and feeding alpacas. The company offers a variety of mindfulness packages including yoga and alpaca treks in tranquil, breathtaking locations as well as providing educational sessions for schools.

Extensive research has shown the value of bringing gentle animals into schools to work with children and the docile nature of alpacas make them exceptional therapy animals. During the wellbeing afternoon at Christ College Brecon, pupils were able to pet the friendly alpacas and lead them around the school field.

Louise Bishop of Alpaca My Boots said: “We were delighted to visit Christ College Brecon to be a part of the pupils’ wellbeing afternoon before half term. I am pleased to be able to give something back to the school; my children attended Christ College Brecon and loved the educational opportunities the school provided.

“The calming nature of alpacas makes them ideal to promote positive mental health and wellbeing, and during the current situation we are finding both adults and children have been coming to us for treks to keep their spirits up.”

Rhiannon Goodrich, Head of PSE at Christ College Brecon, said: “Every week students in years 7 and 8 have the opportunity to have an afternoon focused on promoting their wellbeing. As well as addressing issues that affect their lives and futures, the children have the opportunity to get outside the classroom to help them to stay active, connecting with others and the world around them.

“This term students have been able to explore the local area, setting themselves goals as they walk up hills and along rivers, and also to unwind and practice mindfulness through yoga when the weather has been less clement.

“Developing well rounded, emotionally and physically healthy young people has never been more important and being able to enjoy the natural world through meeting and learning about alpacas, courtesy of local family, the Bishops of ‘Alpaca My Boots’, has been a high point to finish this half term.”

Set within the Brecon Beacons National Park, Christ College is an independent co-educational boarding and day school, with 350 pupils on roll between the ages of seven to 18.