2007 National Pet Month Post Event Competition
Barton Hill Centre wins National Pet Month’s ‘Best Event’ for 2007
Barton Hill Animal Centre in Kentchurch, Herefordshire, has been awarded the prize for the ‘Best Event’ held during National Pet Month 2007. Its Open Day, held on 1 May, which was the culmination of a whole month’s activities, was judged by the NPM charity’s trustees to best reflect the 2007 theme of ‘Love Is…’
The prize, a magnum of champagne, was presented by National Pet Month chairman, Phil Sketchley, on 30 August at a lunch with 50 guests and carers.
The Barton Hill Animal Centre, in a beautiful location on the English/Welsh border, incorporates 'The Barton Hill Centre' for additional learning needs, which provides work opportunities and structured learning programmes for people of all ages and backgrounds who have specific difficulties. It also works alongside the local branch of the RSPCA to provide a new home for animals whose owners can no longer look after them. In return these animals are used to help educate visitors on their proper care and husbandry, and the things that should be considered before taking on a new companion animal.
Julie Milsom from the Centre said: “We held our first-ever Open Day so the public could see how our Centre works in action. National Pet Month gave us a focus and a goal to work for together, raising the profile of the therapeutic affects of contact with animals and showing how animals that had been discarded by people can be successfully rehabilitated with patience, care and love and go on to give so much in return.
“Just being around animals and caring for them can be hugely beneficial both physically and mentally. Just holding and stroking animals can reduce blood pressure and alleviate feelings of tension and anxiety.
“Animals are non-judgmental and give unconditional love, and for survivors of abuse can often be the first form of ‘safe touch’.
“They are an excellent aid to communication and are always a good talking point, but they are also useful in assisting with non-verbal communication and have produced good results when working with clients with autism.
“Animal Assisted Therapy can also be used to assist with maintaining mobility and improving co-ordination and clients can learn transferable skills to assist them in daily life,” she says.
Phil Sketchley said: “Many of the animals too are getting a second chance in life at Barton Hill and the trustees felt that they gave a true demonstration of ‘Love Is..’. As well as showing the love that animals can bring to people, they are also showing the need for us to return that love by looking after our animals responsibly.”
Mr Sketchley stressed there were many other great events held all over the country - in vet practices, by local authorities, in schools and in pet shops, and there were winners in many different categories. “The National Pet Month website carries details of these and many other events, which can serve as inspiration for those making plans for National Pet Month 2008, which will take place from 5 April - 5 May.”
Barton Hill Animal Centre, Kentchurch, Herefordshire
Veterinary Practice event category
Okeford Veterinary Centre, Chagford and Okehampton, Devon
Minster Veterinary Practice, York
The Veterinary Hospital, Estover, Plymouth, Devon
Pet Shop event category
Bath Pet Centre, Bath
Animal Welfare Charity event category
Chestnut Cat Sanctuary, Epping, Essex
ILPH, Snetterton, Norfolk
‘Special’ category (that does not quite fit into the categories above!)
The Shires Shopping Centre, Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Paws-a-While Doggy Creche, Ferrybank, Co Durham