Why your Staff Festival charity vote is so important

Colleagues are being encouraged to vote for the 2019 Staff Festival charity beneficiary by last year’s winner.

Pets As Therapy dogs Noodle and Pepper with their owners, Natalie Best and Rachel Robinson, during a PAT session on campus.

Pets As Therapy dogs Noodle and Pepper with their owners, Natalie Best and Rachel Robinson, during a PAT session on campus. March 2019

A record figure of £2,888.26 was donated to Pets As Therapy (PAT) from the proceeds of the 2018 Festival.

PAT is a humanitarian charity, with volunteers and their pets visiting residential homes, hospitals, hospices, schools, day care centres and prisons. Their aim is to bring joy, comfort and companionship to people who appreciate being able to touch and stroke a friendly animal.

The charity was nominated by Rachel Robinson, a member of the Engineering department, who volunteers with her Labrador Retriever, Pepper. Together, they help run PAT sessions on campus, for the benefit of both staff and students – see Pepper's Instagram page for more details. 

And thanks to the boost in funding and their raised profile following last year’s Staff Festival support, the charity has been able to significantly increase its reach and activities.

Rachel said: “Since being voted as the Staff Festival charity, Pets As Therapy has recruited more local volunteers, who are now visiting nursing homes and primary schools, through the ‘Read to Dogs’ scheme.

“We now have a network of volunteers who visit Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital. Students have seen an increase in the number of PAT dogs coming to visit the Union, and staff have also seen an increase in therapy sessions across various faculties at the University.

“We don’t have many assessors in this area, so I have been able to organise and deliver a training course for 12 more in Yorkshire this past year.

“Myself and Pepper were also invited to Crufts this year to be part of the Pets As Therapy stand, where for the first time we were able to register volunteers to have their pet dogs assessed.

“This has all been possible from the kind donations everyone made at the Staff Festival.

“PAT has become a great wellbeing support for staff and students here at the University, and we wish to continue for many years to come. Thank you all for supporting our charity last year.”

And Rachel has a message for colleagues yet to vote for this year’s Staff Festival charity beneficiary. She said: “Please do read this year’s nominations as they are all deserving charities, who could make a great difference from your support.”

Voting for this year’s Staff Festival charity closes at 5pm on Wednesday 27 March. 

Colleagues are asked to select their favourite good cause from the following list: 

Full reasons for the nominations are outlined on For Staff

Only one vote per member of staff will be accepted via email by the closing date, with the winning charity announced at the Staff Benefits Fair on Tuesday 2 April. 

See the new In Depth page for all the latest updates about the 2019 Staff Festival, which takes place on Friday 28 June.

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