Charity of the Year 2016 announced
26-01-2016 Following the success of UKSA as Red Funnel's charity for the year in 2015, Ability Dogs 4 Young People has been chosen as the company's charity of the year in 2016.
The Isle of Wight based charity has been training assistance dogs to enhance the independence of disabled young people and children living on the Island since 2012. It is the only assistance dog charity providing this service for children on the Island.
The dogs are trained to help with both physical and mental disabilities, including cerebral palsy, autism and epilepsy. As well as helping with practical tasks such as opening doors, raising the alarm, helping dress and undress, the ability dogs also increase disabled young people's wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem.
The charity currently has eight working dogs and 12 puppies in training, waiting to go to deserving young people on the Island. The service is vital in helping the young people go on to further education or gain employment without needing full-time carers.
Carol Court, founder and CEO of Ability Dogs 4 Young People, said: "I’ve been working with assistance dog charities for about 17 years and noticed that no one was providing this service for disabled young people in need on the Island, so I started the charityspecifically to help young Islanders.Our ability dogs make such a difference to disabled young people's lives but it costs £5,000 a year to train a puppy and then another £1,000 a year to pay for its living and vet costs, so it's absolutely fantastic to have the backing and support from a company such as Red Funnel. We are thrilled to have been chosen as charity of the year."
Ability Dogs 4 Young People recruits volunteer puppy parents who care for and help train the Labrador puppies. These puppy parents help the puppies to become adaptable and well socialized as they take them to lots of different places. From 18 months old, each dog is then trained specifically for their recipient’s needs. The trainers also work with each recipient and their family both before and after their ability dog moves in, to help the ability dog to do a great job.
Shirley Anderson, HR director at Red Funnel, said: "Ability Dogs 4 Young People gave us a brilliant pitch and really stood out as a charity that does tremendous work with young people on the Island. We've been amazed by the success stories that have come through the charity so far and we are looking forward to putting on lots of exciting events over the year to raise much needed funds".
Red Funnel hopes to raise enough funds to make a significant difference for Ability Dogs 4 Young People in 2016. Everyone who books tickets online with Red Funnel will be given the opportunity to leave a small donation for the charity, which Red Funnel will match fund. Alternatively, donations can be made online at: redfunnel.co.uk/abilitydogs