Community support

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


“I have Tourette’s Syndrome and working with dogs calms me down and reduces the tics”, Mr D, SPPOT trainee volunteer dog walker

“SPPOT’s dog walking service has benefited me and my dog. I know he is well looked after.” Mr H, SPPOT customer

Supporting People and Pets through Opportunities and Training (SPPOT) is a Community Interest Company based in Pembrokeshire, set up in 2013 by Kerri Bee (FdSc) who is a qualified dog behaviourist and has 10 years’ experience of working with vulnerable adults. SPPOT is run by a small team of passionate and committed volunteers and is funded solely through generated income, fundraising and small grants. SPPOT trains people with disabilities and those who are otherwise disadvantaged to become volunteer dog walkers, home boarders and dog day carers.
This is a unique organisation because it works with vulnerable adults to provide services to vulnerable adults and dogs.
SPPOT needs the £10,000 grant because the public sector is reducing the commissioning of services to adults who do not have substantial support needs.
There is evidence that contact with dogs reduces the need to access health care services, reduces loneliness that brings on depression; therefore dogs are beneficial to long-term health and well-being both for dog owners and those who work with dogs.
SPPOT’s vision is to provide quality dog care across Pembrokeshire whilst empowering people who are furthest from the job market:

• Four people have already completed the training
• Six people are currently undertaking the training.
• Nine dog owners are using SPPOT’s service, which is our current capacity, but many more people across the county enquire about SPPOT’s services regularly.
• Ten people are currently waiting to start training because there has been a very recent reduction in funding for training for people ‘furthest from the job market’ in Pembrokeshire.

SPPOT needs the £10,000 grant to train ten volunteer dog walkers, thus enabling sixty dogs a week to be walked, bringing in sufficient funds to train fourteen more volunteer dog walkers next year and so the pattern for sustainability will be established. The grant will enable support to many more vulnerable dog owners across Pembrokeshire to maintain good ownership of their beloved dog, thus reducing strain on health and social care services and animal rescue services. The five year aim of SPPOT is to provide dog walking, home boarding, dog day care and a canine rehabilitation service.
The outcome of the dog walking project is to deliver a dog walking service primarily to people who are housebound due to physical disability, incapacity or old age. The outcome for the participants is that they receive meaningful employment opportunities that have not been available to them before.
SPPOT is an Agored Cymru registered centre, enabling participants to undertake fully accredited training so that they can provide a professional, ethical dog walking service. The courses one day a week for 23 weeks and can commence by July 2015. The participants will be fully trained by December 2015 and will be dog walking by January 2016. Training covers responsible dog ownership, dog training, risk assessment and canine first aid and is offered at six nationally recognised levels including Entry levels for people who have learning disabilities.
SPPOT works in partnership with the local health and social care commissioners as well as being a valuable service that can be offered by the voluntary sector.
This grant will be the ‘magic bean’ to grow an enterprise of huge benefit to the people of Pembrokeshire and possibly beyond.

“SPPOT offers so much more with participants encouraged to become dog walkers in their own right which also benefits others in the community who need such a service due to incapacity or other circumstances. This is such an exciting enterprise that can be replicated across the country in future years.” Barry Shires, M.B.E. Founder of Vision 21

Project Video

SPPOT (Supporting People and Pets Through Opportunity and Training), A Community Interest Company

Moment of Pride

Pembrokeshire is a beautiful County but job opportunities are hard to come by, leaving people with disabilities and long term illnesses even further from the job market. SPPOT creates work opportunities for disadvantaged people and changes lives for the better, making our community a better place.

Location: Haverfordwest