Dog AID is ending 2020 on a high with a grant of nearly £10,000 from the National Lottery Awards for All.
The funds will help Dog AID deliver online training and support to a wider audience of new and existing clients.
The national charity helps people with disabilities to train their own pet dog to become an assistance dog, currently with 117 fully-qualified dogs throughout the country and 121 more in training. Training takes from 18 months to two years, with both dog and owner receiving specialist education from a network of 130 volunteer trainers.
Training and development manager Rachel Rodgers said: “When covid-19 hit, our trainers were unable to deliver their usual face-to-face training sessions with clients. What’s more, many of our clients with underlying health issues found themselves self-isolating for long periods of time. We therefore needed to quickly adapt our services to support clients with their training, as well as offering emotional support.”
Initially the charity set up virtual coffee breaks to bring together clients and team members and organised webinars to share tips, both live and via recordings. This brought about the realisation that delivering e-learning tools would not just benefit existing clients, but also those who didn’t have volunteer trainers in their area.
“As a result of being granted £9,960 from the National Lottery, Dog AID is now in a position to put in place the Remote Development Project which will go live in 2021,” said chair Sandra Fraser.”Such support is incredible and will allow us to broaden the reach of our services via an online portal. We can then make our training programme more widely accessible to people with disabilities, such as step-by-step training videos, discussion forums, practical support and assessments.”