Willows Scottish Visitor Attraction - Admission Times and Charges
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Willows Patrons
deb and jack
Deborah Bonham and Peter Bullick are patrons of Willows. Video: Take me down
paul and cynthia
Paul Rodgers & Cynthia Kereluk Rodgers are patrons of Willows. Video: I've Been Loving You Too Long
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Our Three Star Scottish Visitor Attraction is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11am till 4pm from April - October
About Willows Animal Sanctuary

Willows Animal Sanctuary is the largest sanctuary in  Aberdeenshire and will try to help any animal in distress. We have been a Scottish charity since 1999 and have helped literally thousands of animals and birds during this time. We operate a strict no kill policy and only put an animal to sleep on veterinary advice. Willows now cares for almost 100 equines as well as over 60 cats and dogs, 100 farm animals and birds and many more small animals and reptiles. We particularly try to help horses and ponies who would otherwise face slaughter.

We are totally dependent on donations, legacies and grants from benevolent organizations to keep the sanctuary running. Unlike larger charities we have no reserves of money and are always desperately short of funds. We specialise in helping elderly or more vulnerable animals that have already been refused help by well-known large national charities, but we can only continue to help needy animals with your support!

The Animal-Assisted Therapy Unit at Willows

Willows helps many vulnerable people with its animal-assisted therapy (AAT) programme. The concept of allowing rescued animals to help vulnerable people on the road back to health is very innovative and has been independently evaluated and shown to be highly beneficial. Because of the increased demand for our AAT programme during the week, Willows will be reducing the opening hours of our Scottish visitor attraction to Saturday & Sunday only. The visitor attraction will still be available for pre-booked School, clubs and group visits through the week.

Willows has run its AAT Programme for people with severe mental health difficulties, for approximately 17 years.

The AAT programme at Willows started out as a pilot scheme but soon came to be regarded as a useful alternative to day/hospital care by social workers, psychiatrists and employment officers in the Aberdeenshire region.

Willows now has a service level agreement with Aberdeenshire Council to help people with severe and enduring mental health difficulties.

Since starting the programme we have identified other client groups who would benefit from using our service. Currently we are experiencing an increased demand for places from young people and especially school-phobics and troubled teenagers. More people than ever are looking into alternatives to assist with anxiety, depression, and other mental health difficulties.

Our AAT programme has boosted confidence, helped overcome anxiety, taught new skills and opened doors for employability and further education. Our therapy programme is run by a team of experienced staff (some of whom have personal experience with mental health issues themselves).Willows acts as a life line for many vulnerable people, and in many cases it is the only programme particular clients are willing to try. We work very closely with employment officers, social workers and back to work programmes etc. This helps us to maintain the high standard of service that we provide.

'I feel being at the sanctuary has helped me move forward and I am feeling more confident'
- Julie is now considering seeking paid work, the fact she is thinking about this shows how far she has come!

'Being at Willows is a chance to escape from reality!' - Jill has suffered with depression for a long time and has really blossomed since being at Willows.

'Being around all the wonderful animals has made me feel useful!' Taking part in the AAT helps people to put animals first and this can help with resolving issues at home.


'I now feel like a different person, I can now cope with people, in the past I would have tried to avoid people by crossing the street if necessary or not going out' - Brian now feels so much better he is now helping others at Willows!

Mary looks forward to her time at the sanctuary it gives her 'time out'.
Jemma feels that attending the Willows AAT programme has helped her enormously with her depression and panic attacks. She feels the animals need her to feed them and being at Willows makes her feels happy and free. Jemma also said the she 'enjoys this the most' out all of her activities.

'Coming to the Willows on a Monday kick starts my week if I don’t attend my whole week doesn’t feel right' - John has suffered with severe depression for years… Willows AAT is the only activity he attends.

Willows Animal Sanctuary - Registered Charity No: SCO29625 this site is designed and maintained free of charge by Willows Trustee Nick Robinson/>