Comhlamh Action Team
My name is Sarah Chapman and I am a 3rd year BA Arts student majoring in Geography and Linguistics. I volunteer at Railway-Yard Gallops and Ballyfrory Stud as a Volunteer and Assistant for Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning and Groom.
I started volunteering at the Railway-Yard Gallops in July 2020 as a friend of mine was already a volunteer there, and I went with her once just for something to do. I ended up loving it! I started volunteering two, sometimes three, days a week after that. I have gained so much knowledge and so many skills, not just in equine, but for myself as well, thanks to this volunteering opportunity. It has particularly made a difference for me being able to keep volunteering there during lock-down, as we are preforming essential care for the welfare of the horses.
Volunteering during the pandemic has been really rewarding as I know I am making a difference in my community and I get to help look after these amazing horses every day that I am there. But the biggest difference the volunteering has made is on my mental health. I was struggling last year after the first lock-down, my COOP and Erasmus had been cancelled, and I was living at home again full time with my parents for the first time since starting college. The volunteering provided an escape for me and a space where I could let my mind have a break. I really do recommend finding something to volunteer for during these lock-downs as they can be and have been hard on people’s mental health and volunteering can be a space where you can keep busy and make a difference, not only in the community, but for yourself too.
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