EVERY PET DESERVES A VET
Vets in the Community is a service run by student volunteers from the University of Nottingham Veterinary School. Since 2012, we have provided free veterinary care for the pets of homeless and vulnerably housed people in Nottingham. Following the the recent loss of our clinic space we are fundraising for a specially fitted trailer to serve as a mobile clinic, which will allow us to reach as many people as possible.
Homelessness is at an all-time high nationally, with Nottingham being the second fastest-growing area for rough sleeping in the UK. Pet ownership is common among homeless people, and provides a vital source of companionship, support and security in an otherwise uncertain and unstable situation. Emerging research on homelessness and the human-animal bond shows that these pets may act as a form of therapy for their owners.
We have seen more than 1400 consultations over the past six years; beyond the vital care we provide to these very special animals, we provide peace of mind. We see clients from all walks of life, some of whom are struggling with dependency issues, disabilities or poor physical and mental health. Ensuring that their pets are healthy and protected from disease is a source of enormous comfort for these vulnerable people. Additionally, we can provide proof of microchipping, vaccination and parasite prevention, which has helped some of our clients to find housing that will accept both them and their pet. We work with a large number of local and national organisations, including hostels, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes, a rape crisis service and services for those escaping domestic violence.
Pet ownership is a common bond, and opens a conversation with some of the most marginalised people in our society. We work hard to make the clinic a welcoming space, with hot drinks and cake always on offer, and time to listen to people’s concerns. Our clients struggle to access other forms of veterinary care, even when eligible for charitable services such as the PDSA. Where an animal needs a treatment that is more intensive than we can offer, we can advise and help people to access these other services.
We have received wonderful feedback from clients over the years and it is clear to us how important their pets are to them!
At our fortnightly clinics, we provide free check-ups, routine treatments such as vaccination, flea & worm control and microchipping, and advice on more serious conditions. We also provide free neutering vouchers and important small items such as collars, coats, blankets, pet food, and even toys, the majority of which are donated by our supporters. While most of our patients are dogs, we do see some cats and the occasional surprise rabbit, ferret or hamster.
Vets in the Community has inspired and collaborated with similar projects around the UK, including Streetvet, Streetpaws, All4Paws and Trusty Paws. Additionally, as every Nottingham vet student must attend a clinic, every year 150 new vets graduate with this experience and inspiration, to take forward into the communities they work in.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
For the past six years, our clinics have been held in the Nottingham Big Issue office. However, following their recent relocation we have had to find alternative accommodation. We are currently renting a space temporarily, but fundraising is underway to invest in purchasing a specially fitted trailer to serve as a dedicated mobile clinic. This will improve accessibility to vulnerable people throughout Nottingham, who have been previously unable to reach our clinic. It will also provide scope for meet demand for our services in towns and cities further afield. We are seeking funding towards the purchase of this trailer, to allow us to continue helping as many people and pets as possible.
We have been blown away by the generosity of our supporters' donations at events such as the Robin Hood Half Marathon, which have brought us much closer to our goal of purchasing this trailer. However, a final fundraising push is necessary in order for us to reach the £30,000 required for this investment - which is where you come in!
We know how much our service is valued by our clients and are very proud of what we have achieved so far. As homelessness continues to increase, so do the demands on Vets in the Community. Our service could not run without donations and we would be so grateful for your support. Every donation will get us closer to our goal so please share this page with your family and friends!
“It’s so much help for me because I couldn’t afford to take her to the vets and give her the treatments that you do. She just gets so much from it and she’s such a healthy dog, everyone always tells me how good she looks… She’s a support to me, she really is – she’s marvellous.” – Pepper’s Owner
“It has been so good for the women I work with who are vulnerable and often don’t have a fixed address because of the abuse they are experiencing, to use your project to get their animals checked out and treated... You have all been great with the women and animals referred.” – Women’s Aid Pet Project
“We just wanted to say thank you for all the work you and your team do. We have about 10-15 animals a year who live with us and their owners in our hostel… Pets are an important part of the family and when someone goes through the stress of becoming homeless their pets often suffer too.” – One of our Partner Hostels
“It is clear to see that the human-animal bond is so vital to their day-to-day life and for that I am proud to have been part of a project that truly supports this important relationship.” – Committee Member