RESIDENTS of Westacre Nursing Home in Winchester received a cheerful and therapeutic visit from a group of alpacas.

The therapeutic benefits of animals for vulnerable people has long been recognised, holding and stroking animals can reduce blood pressure and alleviate feelings of tension and anxiety.

The home’s residents were encouraged to pet the alpacas, groom them and even take them for a short walk around the nursing home’s expansive gardens.

Residents who were unable to visit the communal areas of the home, where the main activities took place, were treated to a one-to-one visit from the alpacas, named Guinness and Hickory, in their individual rooms.

Diana Hearn, manager of Westacre, said: “We are always on the lookout for interesting and stimulating activities for our residents. We know how much they enjoy interacting with animals - but an alpaca visit was something of a first. Our residents absolutely loved them. The alpacas were so friendly. There was so much fun and laughter.”

Wendy Williams from Alpaca Adventure, said: “We were so pleased to be invited to Westacre Nursing Home. It was clear to see the positive impact on the residents communication and overall mood. We encouraged the residents to truly engage with the alpacas as this can help them to relive memories they’ve had with animals in the past.”