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All for a good paws...

4th Hydref 2021

To mark World Animal Day, we are highlighting some of the heart-warming stories of how animals at projects and charities throughout the UK are lending a paw (or wing) to help people in need across the country, thanks to National Lottery players.

World Animal Day (October 4th) is an annual event which aims to raise the status of animals around the world. Today we are celebrating the amazing impact that National Lottery funded animal related projects are having on the lives of people in communities throughout the UK.

It has long been known that animals serve as a source of comfort and support for people and for many - nothing compares to the joy of coming home to a loyal companion. But it’s not just love and companionship in our daily lives they offer.

Whether they are dogs, cats, guinea pigs, monkeys, llamas, pigs or hens, animals help humans in countless vital ways. They often make a valuable contribution to human health and recovery – taking an important role, for example, in therapy and rehabilitation programmes. They have a positive effect on physical and mental health, they give us emotional support, they help prisoners adjust to a conflict-free life outside of prison, and can be a calm anchor in stressful situations. Animals reduce the fear of their owner in threatening situations; they guide the blind; they warn those in danger of diabetic or epileptic fits. Animals are our soulmates, helpers and friends.

Over the past five years, the National Lottery has awarded more than £17 million to almost 200 projects that involve animals across the UK.

National Lottery funding goes towards a wide range of animal related projects – from city and community farms; funding the training of rescue dogs that help emergency services during natural disasters; projects that support people with disabilities and behavioural issues; and projects that provide animal assisted therapy – in order to support people and improve their wellbeing.

Cariad Pet Therapy

Among the charities awarded funding in Wales is Cariad Pet Therapy, a Pembrokeshire-based Community Interest Company set up in 2018 to provide free pet therapy in a range of settings, from schools and hospitals to workplaces and care homes.

Stable Life

Amongst the initiatives being funded by The National Lottery is Stable Life in Scotland, who will use funding to provide Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) to children and young people aged 10 to 18 with a range of social, emotional, and behavioural issues.

Dogs for Good in England, who aid Dogs in the community, working closely with People with Dementia (PWD) and the dementia care sector.

Friends of Assisi, in Northern Ireland, delivering pet supplies to homeless or disadvantaged people and the Welsh Institute of Therapeutic Horsemanship, who allow women with lived experience of multi-generational disadvantages, mental health issues and poverty to train as therapeutic horsemanship practitioners.

Dogs For Good

Dogs for Good support people across the UK with dementia through their Dementia Community Dog Programme by deploying Assistance Dogs in the community and working closely with People with Dementia and the dementia care sector.

Friends of Assisi

In Northern Ireland, Friends of Assisi has been able to deliver pet supplies to homeless or disadvantaged people in the Ards and North Down area, whose pet is often their only companion and their lifeline. The project aims to keep as many companion animals as possible in their homes and with their owners, helping reduce additional stress by providing food and supplies for those with animals, who may not be able to provide for them during the pandemic.

Swansea Community Farm

Swansea Community Farm

Swansea Community Farm relies on volunteers to work with the animals, but also for site maintenance, community allotment work and conservation, with volunteer workdays taking place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

However, anyone over the age of 16 can access the farm in Swansea, and it is often prescribed by local mental health practices to people struggling with anxiety.

Now with around 100 volunteers on the books – and more people applying than ever due to the strain the pandemic has had on people’s mental health – the funding from The National Lottery has proved vital in helping the farm run smoothly.

Thanks to National Lottery players, hundreds of projects across the UK are able to make a positive impact on people’s lives with the help of some incredible animals. Whether they are reducing loneliness, providing physical support, or improving people’s mental health, animals undoubtedly make a difference to everyone.