The Malta Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (MSPCA) has recently embarked on a new Wellbeing Outreach Programme.

Awarded to the NGO through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme (VOPS) and set to run for 12 months, the programme will help MSPCA break barriers and reach further out to society. It aims to promote the importance of kindness, resolve differences and encourage inclusion of marginalised communities in the company of animals.

“Animals are a very important part of our lives,” says MSPCA fundraising manager Mary Cassar Torregiani. “They are a part of society that also gets marginalised, secluded and isolated. Animals teach us plenty about unconditional love, respect and sincerity.”

Through the programme, the NGO will reach out to old people’s homes to mitigate against the loneliness and isolation felt by many of our elderly, following studies that prove interaction with animals can be beneficial to mental health. Individual therapy in the presence of the NGO’s resident animals will be offered by a warranted counsellor.

“The MSPCA strives to recognise, respect and support the human need – particularly that of the elderly – for animal interaction,” says councillor Louiselle Grech. “The companionship of an animal is an invaluable tool in bringing purpose and engagement to elderly individuals, especially those in care. Spending time with a pet is a formidable way to combat the loneliness and isolation that many elderly people experience and brings many precious moments of comfort and joy, which is especially important during the pandemic.”

The scheme also includes outreach into schools to promote the importance of respect towards animals by developing empathic skills in young people. A volunteering hub for people coming from different cultures and abilities completes the initiative to promote the concept of acceptance, respect and kindness for one another, emphasising how animals form an integral part of the community.

The Wellbeing Outreach Programme will give the MSPCA the resources to continue to focus on its resident animals’ health and wellbeing, as well as their eventual adoption into dedicated and loving homes.

More information about the MSPCA and its Wellbeing Outreach Programme may be found at project is funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme, managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector on behalf of the Ministry for Inclusion and Social Wellbeing.