2018 Charity of the Year Announced

02-01-2018 – The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary has been chosen as Red Funnel's 2018 Charity of the Year following a public vote. The charity succeeds the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, which was Red Funnel's Charity of the Year in 2017.

This year’s public vote set a new record, with more than double the number of votes being cast compared to last year.  The public had the hard task of choosing between three worthy Isle of Wight charities, which included the Earl Mountbatten Hospice and Challenge & Adventure – a charity which helps disadvantaged young people.

Red Funnel will work in partnership with the IW Donkey Sanctuary throughout 2018 to help raise much-needed funds to cover the cost of caring for nearly 100 rescued donkeys and 25 ponies, many who have lead hardworking, difficult lives.

The fund raising will also help the charity sustain programs aimed at teaching students about agriculture and animal welfare as well support a variety of compassionate and therapy related initiatives within the community. Companion donkeys are a great source of stimulation and therapy and provide a calm and sense of comfort to those who interact with them. Over the last few years the donkeys have worked with people who have experienced a variety of conditions including strokes, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease and dementia. The charities staff routinely take the donkeys to visit care homes, hospices, Alzheimer’s centres and schools, where children with special needs particularly benefit from the interaction.

Red Funnel’s aim is to raise £50,000 in donations and match funding from a range of fundraising activities planned for the year ahead.

Debbie Reed, interim HR director at Red Funnel, said: “Over twenty charities applied this year and our staff had a very difficult job shortlisting three to go forward to the public vote. The IW Donkey Sanctuary were the clear winners and we very much look forward to raising funds for this wonderful, worthy charity over the next 12 months and supporting the incredible work they do in the community.

Derek Needham, Charity Manager, IW Donkey Sanctuary commented: “We never dreamt we could win and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for us. We have worked incredibly hard to keep this charity alive and this win gives us an opportunity to plan a long-term future for the sanctuary. Our donkeys deserve the best care we can give because they have come to mean so much to the many individuals, schools, village organizations and community groups who interact with them. We always say that it is not just what we do for our donkeys, but also what our donkeys do for people. We truly look forward to working with Red Funnel over the next 12 months.

Red Funnel customers can opt to make a small donation when they make a vehicle booking online and more information about Red Funnel’s Charity of the Year scheme and the IW Donkey Sanctuary can be found at redfunnel.co.uk/coty

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