Help end loneliness in the elderly with CareDogs

by CareDogs Charity in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

£4,320

raised so far

+ est. £298.75 Gift Aid

51

supporters

We want to bring the benefits of our dog befriending service to more older people, including those living with dementia.

by CareDogs Charity in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 10th May 2022 we'd raised £4,300 with 50 supporters in 77 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

New stretch target

With this amount, we'd be able to recruit and train a further 25 volunteers (so 75 in total) to reach more communities and older people at risk of loneliness and/or social isolation.


National Emergencies Trust Local Action Fund

We’re taking part in the National Emergencies Trust Local Action Fund. Donations to our project will be matched by the fund up to the value of £250 to help us overcome the effects of the pandemic.


Please note only one donation per supporter will be matched by the National Emergencies Trust Local Action Fund.

Every volunteer we train and match to an older person costs £60 - but the impact is truly life-changing. Our goal is to recruit 50 new volunteers this year to befriend 50 older people. But to do this we need to raise £3,000.

About us 

CareDogs is a small charity that aims to help older people build connections within their local community and feel less lonely and isolated. To do this, we match our volunteers and their dogs to visit an older person, as part of our canine companionship befriending service. The CareDogs mission is to end social isolation and loneliness among older people, give local communities more intergenerational volunteering opportunities and where appropriate, help an older person take the next step of finding a senior rescue dog of their own to give them a forever home.

How dogs can help end isolation and loneliness

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CareDogs strives to be as inclusive as possible in our mission to end loneliness among older people. We know the joy that interaction with a dog can bring, making it easier for people to chat with each other, and find common ground. The impact of meeting up with a friendly volunteer and their pet dog can have a profound impact on the older person’s quality of life. We understand that it isn’t possible for everyone to look after and live with a dog full-time, as our clients may be less mobile, or live in care homes where it’s not possible to have a dog.

Thankfully, we are able to make a difference and bring love into their lives. We want to be able to pair our clients with befriending volunteers (and their dogs) to visit weekly so that they can still enjoy the benefits of a dog walk or a cup of tea around a friendly, tail-wagging pooch. 

Meet Mandy and Buddy

We paired Mandy and her cavapoo Buddy with a lovely couple called Barry and Ros. Barry suffers from dementia and Ros is his full-time carer so Ros is able to have some well-deserved respite when Barry is out walking with Buddy. Their most recent walk resulted in Barry having memories and moments of clarity which were a wonderful moment for Mandy to experience. Watch her testimonial to find out more:

Meet Colin, Ellie and Fiona

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Colin's partner passed away back in 2019. Having been a carer for her, his main community was with other carers. Now, CareDogs provides him with support and connection: ‘Colin has said it’s good to get out and exercise as he probably would not go on a walk on his own,' his volunteer, Fiona, tells us. 'We also speak to people en route about their dogs which he really enjoys. Ellie (my dog) also knows him now so gives him a friendly greeting when we meet up! Volunteering has really improved my life - as well as Colin's!' 

'Colin was glowing about the walks when I spoke to him last week,' his former Care supporter told us. 'I've sent him some other walks to go on during the week because he said he has started walking loads more as a result of his walks with Fiona. He used to drive everywhere before but now likes walking again!'

Why we need your help

Over 500,000 older people go a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all (according to Age UK) and we know that pets improve our mental health (with 82.5% of people, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center, saying pets have a strong positive impact on their life) and scientific proof that stroking a dog releases ‘happy hormones’ of serotonin and oxytocin in our bodies increasing our sense of wellbeing.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the plight of older people and isolation and brought a new sense of community volunteering – something we would like to harness for the long term.

We are currently run by volunteers and have no paid staff. To help us extend our Befriending Scheme, we desperately need funding to recruit new volunteers and help promote our project within local communities to raise awareness amongst older people who may benefit from our befriending scheme. We aim to do this by: 

- Covering the costs of printing leaflets and placing ads in local newspapers to raise awareness amongst older people who may not use social or other digital media.
- Volunteer recruitment expenses, such as paying for DBS checks and providing training. We want to ensure our volunteers are properly equipped to provide support to older people.
- Volunteer expenses to help cover travel costs if needed, as we want volunteering to be open to everyone, regardless of their own financial circumstance.

Our values are kindness, community and unity. We believe we're stronger together – that's why we believe in a local solution to tackle a national problem, championing communities by building intergenerational connections in local areas to tackle loneliness. 

Rewards

This project offered rewards

£100 or more

3 x 1:1 Dog Training Sessions (London)

Is your dog in need of a confidence boost? Do you have questions you want to ask a Dog Behaviourist? Look no further, this reward will include three 1:1 dog training sessions with Alex Wendon, based in South London.

£150 or more

The Cuddle Club Dog Therapy Dinner Date (London)

You'll have one of The Cuddle Club therapy dogs happily on your lap for cuddles for a total of one hour during your meal at Drake and Morgan in King's Cross (London). Please note: this prize only covers the cost of the therapy dog and not your meal.

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