North East-based charity, Wag & Company North East Friendship Dogs, is welcoming a large number of its volunteers to the first ‘Wag Event’ on 17th May, at The Baltic in Gateshead.
Wag & Company aims to reduce loneliness in older dog lovers in the North East by enabling professionally assessed volunteers and dogs to visit them. This service befriends older people both in care or medical facilities and, unique to the North East, those still living in their own homes.
The charity launched in May 2016 and has almost 200 volunteers (“Visiting Wag Teams”) in action across the region; from Yarm up to Belford, across to Haltwhistle and everywhere in between.
The Wag Event brings together many of the charity’s volunteers for the first time. They will share experiences and increase understanding in a number of areas related to their community work; the impact of loneliness on frailty, dementia and animal behaviour.
The event is being sponsored by Corporate Partner, Harvey & Hugo, a PR, social media and content marketing agency headquartered in Darlington.
Harvey & Hugo’s Managing Director, Charlotte Nichols, who has joined Wag & Company’s board as PR and Marketing Director, said: “It’s an honour to be involved with this event as the charity is particularly close to my heart. I’m looking forward to meeting the amazing volunteers who are making such a difference.”
Diane Morton, founding director of Wag & Company, said: “This is the first time we have had so many of our volunteers together in the same place, and the first opportunity they will have had to meet other people doing the same thing in their own communities.
“We are so grateful to the subject experts who are giving their time to make this a really interesting afternoon, and to Harvey & Hugo for enabling the event by providing such an iconic venue.”
So far, Wag & Company has made over 20,000 friend visits and is touching over 1300 lives, but there is a huge need across the North East and many more volunteers are required. Thousands of elderly people describe themselves as lonely all or most of the time, many of whom have been dog owners and now badly miss friendship, and the company of a dog.
Wag & Company has ambitious plans to grow its volunteer numbers over the next two years, making loneliness less of an issue for older people in the North East.