The Animal Care Centre at the Walford Campus of North Shropshire College (NSC) opens its doors to animal lovers during the school holidays. People of any age can take part in the ‘Be a Keeper for a Day Experience’. The Campus houses over 90 species of animal from Alpacas and Rabbits to Snakes and Lizards.
Bex Walker is a Lecturer for Independent Living and an Animal Keeper at Walford, Bex coordinates the experience days and thoroughly enjoys it, ‘The experience is really enjoyable and many visitors book and come back. It’s great to have the enthusiasm particularly in youngsters, it’s something I’d of loved to do when I was that age.’
The Be a Keeper Day starts from 9am and runs until 2pm. There are a maximum of five people booked into the experience and there are both adult days and children’s days where children aged 7+ are able to attend. The day consists of handling, feeding, health care checks and finding out about animal through learning about basic animal husbandry and every day duties of a keeper. The day costs just £50 per person, visitors just need to wear appropriate clothing and bring along a packed lunch.
Bex also coordinates the Birthday Parties at the Animal Care Centre. A party of up to 20 people can come and have an Animal Experience Day with party games and handling, with the use of rooms for refreshments that organisers bring with them. The party cost is just £150.
Kayleigh Roberts is 10 and from Oswestry and says, ‘The keeper experience is great! I’ve been 16 times now, I’ve got to know lots of the animals and brought all my friends here for my birthday party, we had so much fun, everyone really enjoyed it.’
Bex also brings her two Pyrenees dogs, Snowy and Molly to work so that keepers can find out more about dog grooming and walking, the dogs are very timid and are used to being handled regularly by the College students during term-time.
On Sunday 14th February, Valentine’s Day, the College had two new arrivals in the shape of twin pygmy goats. College staff have named them Romeo and Juliette given the timing they were born. Two keepers today (15th Feb) Kayleigh Roberts aged 10 and Martha Nicholls aged 7 were lucky enough to have a little hold of the one day old kids.
Bex has one day Saturday workshops coming up in Exotic and Small Animal Care. The Snake workshop is on 27th Feb and the Exotics one is on 12th March both workshops are delivered 10am-4.30pm and are priced at just £40 per person.