This International Men’s Day, our mental health hospital in Bolton is celebrating the arrival of two resident bunnies, thanks to two patients learning how to build a rabbit hutch as part of their recovery.

John and Andy are supported at Alternative Futures Group’s mental health hospital in Bolton. As part of their package of care, they are supported to visit their local Men’s Shed each week where they learn woodwork skills.

The two have worked together to build a rabbit hutch from scratch, meaning the charity was able to welcome two dwarf Lionhead rabbits to live within the hospital, providing pet therapy for John, Andy and other patients.

Jenny, Mental Health Nurse at Alternative Futures Group said: “The addition of the rabbits, Jeremy and Hubert, has been a great therapeutic addition to our little community. Pet therapy is relaxing for the people we support, and they help to clean and look after the rabbits which helps with independence and the responsibility of having to look after something and compassion for other creatures.

“The hutch is sturdy, well made and a great home for the rabbits. It’s given John and Andy a huge sense of achievement and helped them in their recovery journey as great motivation to get out of bed, get out in the community and make things.”

Meet Andy, John and rabbits Jeremy and Hubert…

Alternative Futures Group is a health and social care charity with over 30 years of experience of providing specialist support to people with a learning disability or mental health condition.

Men’s Sheds is a men’s mental health movement across the UK, encouraging members to pursue practical interests, learn skills and enjoy making and mending.

Find out more about Alternative Futures Group at

Find your local Men’s Shed at