[Pictured are Abigail Owens (Dogs Trust), Metro Mayor Dan Norris, Ian Duff (Big Issue vendor), Heather Hodge (manager at the Big Issue Bath) and last but not least – Trigger the dog.]
Metro Mayor Dan Norris is spreading some festive cheer as he helps deliver special hampers for the dogs of homeless Bath and NE Somerset locals, and for those across the West of England, ahead of Christmas.
Mr Norris has teemed up with the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, in distributing the canine hampers filled with festive treats toys, collars, leads and warm winter dog coats as part of the charity’s incredible ‘Hope Project’ which has been running for over 25 years.
Over the next few weeks, Christmas parcels will be delivered to five homeless services across the West of England for 27 dogs – including five lucky pooches over at Bath’s Julian House.
As well as the hampers, Dogs Trust also provides free veterinary treatment to the homeless canines with the Hope Project having funded almost 1,300 vet treatments for nearly 500 dogs whose owners are experiencing homelessness alone in 2022. The ‘Hope Project’ also supports more homelessness services to become ‘dog friendly’ so people and their pets can stay together.
Mayor Norris will help pack and deliver the special hampers to some of the Big Issue’s vendor superheroes over in Bath, and their trusted friends. He said that as the weather drops people now more than ever need support, including for their four-legged buddies.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “As we all know, dogs are a wonderful source of love and support, and this is especially true for homeless people – 82% say their dog is their best friend. Christmas can be an especially difficult and lonely time for people sleeping rough and experiencing homelessness right now, and with temperatures plunging below Zero, it’s that much tougher. That’s why I’m so, so pleased to be able to help Dogs Trust in making Christmas happier for them, and their canine companions. It was wonderful to meet dogs and their owners at Big Issue and I’m so grateful to homelessness services like them who have so many dog-friendly services, meaning that homeless Bath and NE Somerset locals are not forced to make a decision between their best friend and a safe place to sleep”.
Harriet Page, Dogs Trust Pets and Housing Manager explains: “Everyone knows that the bond between a dog and its owner is a strong one but for people experiencing homelessness, the bond is often unbreakable. Christmas can be an especially difficult and lonely time for people in housing crisis. However, thanks to the generosity of Dogs Trust supporters, this year we will be able to help over 2000 celebrate Christmas and support them into the New Year and beyond so that more dogs can stay with their owners, regardless of their housing situation”.
Hattie Greenyer, Frontline Manager at Big Issue, added: “This is a really lovely initiative and just the sort of Christmas cheer we need at the moment. Our vendors, and of course their furry pals, will be so happy – I want to say a big thank you to Dogs Trust, the Hope Project and the Mayor.”
With around 100 people experiencing homelessness in Bath and NE Somerset, the Hope Project is as vital as ever, Mayor Norris added.