North East-based charity, Wag & Company North East Friendship Dogs, has welcomed well-known business figure James Ramsbotham as its newest Ambassador.
Highly respected in the North East business arena, James Ramsbotham is chief executive of The North East England Chamber of Commerce, heading up the region’s biggest business group, with 4,000-plus members.
Diane Morton, founding director of Wag & Company, said: “We’re really honoured that James supports our work and, as an Ambassador for our charity, will help to raise awareness across the region. His vast knowledge of the local area and business community and his trusted reputation will help to encourage other business leaders and organisations to support us too.
“To continue to grow and make a difference to the elderly across the North East, we really need more and more North East businesses to get involved, for example by including Wag & Company in their corporate volunteering schemes, choosing us as their staff charities, sending teams to participate in our new North East Business Walk at Kielder Water on Monday 24th September, or encouraging staff to participate in the Sunday Walk.”
In addition to his work with The Chamber, James is a deputy lieutenant for County Durham and honorary colonel for The Rifles in the North. Previously, James was chairman of Darlington Building Society and vice chairman of Esh Group after spending 14 years working at Barclays Bank plc throughout the UK. He began his working life in the Royal Green Jackets, soldiering around the world for 12 years.
Wag & Company 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.
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.
James said: “Many elderly people today lead lonely and isolated lives, having lost those that they love. They cope but their lives can be transformed for the better with a little companionship and love. This is what Wag & Company do.
“Bringing a dog into the life of an elderly person can be the most positive experience for them, the dog and its owner. It rouses, energises and brings out the best in people and dogs. I strongly support Diane and all of those who work to spread warmth and companionship in this way, and encourage others to do likewise.”
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.
For more information on Wag & Company and ways to support its work, see www.wagandcompany.co.uk