Kennel Club charitable Trust supports therapy dog project in Gloucestershire

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust is supporting a therapy dog project to help disadvantage young people on Gloucestershire.

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust is supporting, Young Gloucestershire, a charitable organisation that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to gain tools and skills for a better life, by providing funds for training employment of a therapy dog and handler. The duo are starting their work this week, coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week.

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, part of the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs, provides support for dogs, organisations and charities who help those facing challenges with mental health, and make an everyday difference to our lives.

The £20, 900 funding provided by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust has enabled the youth organisation to employ a handler for therapy dog, Border Collie, Buddy and supported their training as well as employment.

Buddy and his handler, Vanessa Radwell from Stroud, will support therapy sessions that the charity provides to young people struggling with various mental health issues.

The Young Gloucestershire team hopes that having Buddy as part of the community will fuel their therapy services in different ways – for example building confidence in young people who have anxieties about leaving the house by taking the therapy dog for walks; establishing a strong bond between the dog and young people; encouraging them to share and connect with a therapies in situations and topics which are difficult to discuss; and also improving the confidence of anxious readers.

Tom Saunders, Operations Manager at Young Gloucestershire commented: “Although Buddy is yet to start his official therapy training with his new handler due to Covid-19, his presence in the community has already had a positive impact on many of the young people we are working with.

“He has spent a lot of time on one to one walks with young people who have been facing traumatic experiences, struggling with mental health, anger issues or worse. Many of those who participate in our personal development programmes credit Buddy with their willingness to continue their course.

“I have watched young people go from tearful, agitated and worried, to relaxed, engaged and calm in Buddy’s presence.”

The Animal Assisted Intervention project highlights the positive impact that dogs can have on mental health.

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for the Kennel Club said: “Dogs provide us with love, loyalty, companionship without any judgement. Just by being around, dogs can alleviate stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness.

“The mental health support that dogs provide is now more important than ever, as we face a global pandemic, leaving many people feeling isolated and anxious.”

To find out more about the chairties and organisations that The Kennel Club Charitable Trust supports visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk.

To find out more about Young Gloucestershire and to support their cause, visit: www.youngglos.org.uk/.