We first met Irene through an outreach session we delivered to Age UK a few years ago. She took a huge interest in the animals and told us she’d grown up on a farm in Surrey. When we hosted the Furry Tales Club taster session and focus group we were keen to have her join us. She told us she loved coming to Stepney City Farm, to be closer to animals and to meet other people. She soon became a regular and has attended over ten sessions. Even when it’s been cold and rainy, Irene still comes on her scooter and helps us health-check the rabbits, gives us gardening tips and entertains us with the most incredible stories about her childhood. She brings in photos of her with various animals when she was younger, of her brother and his prize-winning pig, and we display them on our club board next to more recent photos of her.
She’s brought along three different friends over the course of the project and her current friend and helper, Charlie, comes with her on Mondays even when it’s his only day off. He says that he really enjoys spending time with the small animals and being out on the Farm. Irene can tell you the exact gestation period of a pig, she can tell you how to prevent caterpillars from eating your plants and she can regale you with hilarious (if not for the fainthearted) stories of traditional farming techniques. She says her favourite thing about Furry Tales Club is ‘socialising and meeting people, sharing my knowledge of the animals’ and we feel very lucky to have her.