HS2 could derail local charity for autistic children

A youngster at the Animal Antiks chairty in Stoke Mandeville
A youngster at the Animal Antiks chairty in Stoke Mandeville

A Stoke Mandeville children’s charity risks losing its premises to the HS2 railway line.

The Animal Antiks livery yard is directly affected by the controversial train line and the site’s landlord is unable to offer the guarantee of a safe home for the charity’s valuable services.

Co-founders Sarah Kettlety and Katrina Greig-Young are now looking for a new, suitable and permenant home.

Founded in 2013, Animal Antiks helps cared for and autistic children to build their confidence, esteem and skills whilst also helping to prepare young people for the world of work via their many enterprises. A key supplier of services for the county council, Animal Antiks has been supported by local authorities who have taken their case to the House of Lords. Katrina describes their current site as ‘ideal’ due to its proxity to local bus and train routes which allows them to ‘travel train’ the children.

She added: “It would be ideal if we could either stay where we are or find somewhere equally well located.”

The site would need the space to house chickens, alpacas, horses, sheep, goats and more. All of the animals play central roles in improving the lives of children.

Eggs layed by hens can be sold by young people to help them build up their people skills and the horses are used in equine therapy with clients.

However without site stability these services will not be able to continue and expand as the pair wish.

Emphasising the importance of this Sarah said: “We’ve worked hard for three years building Animal Antiks, a charity that supports special young people, growing their confidence and supporting their development to make them ready for the world of work. We cannot let them fail.”

The self funded charity was recently awarded £200 by the local Asda’s Community Champion scheme highlighting the need and appreciation for Animal Antiks’ services in the local area. Though hesitant to leave their current site. Sarah and Katrina are appealing to anyone who knows of an equally appropriate location in which to continue the charity’s work.

Sarah said: “We are asking for your help to keep Animal Antiks going, either here or maybe somewhere new.

“We offer a unique form of training that this train cannot derail.”

Around 60km of the county’s land has already been earmarked for the HS2 project.

Can you help Animal Antiks? Visit www.animalantiks.co.uk to offer your support to the good cause or find out more.