North West charity YMCA Together has created the country’s first memorial dedicated to the pets of people in the homeless community.
Located at Dutch Farm in South Liverpool, the commemorative wall is set to honour the cherished animals of people experiencing homelessness connected to the charity. The unveiling of it follows the opening of a Homeless Memorial Garden at the same site in 2021, dedicated to people who have lost their lives while experiencing homelessness.
The tranquil surroundings of the farm in Garston allows a lasting space to pay respects to the pets, offering their owners and friends a place for solace and remembrance while they grieve.
YMCA Together allows residents at all of their accommodation sites to keep pets and the memorial wall will feature plaques dedicated to them, as well as livestock that has lived at Dutch Farm.
Hayley Jones, Director of Homeless Services, said:
“We know how important and how loved the animals are so we really wanted to create a space where their owners and friends could go and remember them and reflect on their time together. The people we get to know through YMCA Together have encountered significant challenges in their lives. They have been through so much trauma and experienced such difficulties when it comes to building relationships.
“After all the rejection they’ve faced in life, they often have pets that become their constant companion and that goes everywhere with them. It is very important for us to acknowledge how much the animals mean to the homeless community and to honour them.”
The pet memorial wall is surrounded by trees and plants and an injection of colour with vibrant tree decorations crafted by the YMCA community. The space is not only a tribute to individuals and their beloved pets but also a sanctuary for those seeking a tranquil place for contemplation during challenging moments.
“One of the first animals we have added to the memorial wall was Tia, the beloved companion of one of our service users. Before the owner died, he asked if one of the team at YMCA Together would care for Tia after his death. Tia subsequently became the YMCA dog, and she was so loved by all the staff. The memorial wall provides a meaningful place where people can go to remember both her and her owner.”
The wall is made from sustainable materials with a plaque dedicated to the animal and any personal information and mementoes that the owner has requested.
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