January 6, 2015, by Lindsay Brooke

Vets in the Community – new clients welcome

The student run Vets in the Community service opens for business again on the 14 January 2015. The vet clinic, which offers free medical help for pets owned by the vulnerable and homeless in Nottingham, was set up three years ago and has provided care for over 300 pets – cats, dogs, rabbits, even a ferret.

A pilot in 2012 was funded by Dogs Trust and the clinic, run from the offices of the Big Issue in Sneinton, has proved so successful it has already increased the number of sessions from one clinic a month to two – on the second and last Wednesday of each month. A new video highlights the work it does and features interviews with some of their regular clients on the importance of the service.

Fourth year Veterinary student Grace Slater said: “As students we thoroughly enjoy being able to give back to our community and help make tough times a little easier. The clinic allows us to give their animals the best care that we can and support them in any way that we can. It also allows us to learn and develop into better vets ourselves by developing our clinical and communication skills. The project really benefits everyone involved which is the beauty of it and that is why we aim to keep the project maintained so that we can continue to help those in need.”

This time of year can be particularly difficult for their clients and there’s often more than just medical help at hand. Dr Jenny Stavisky, a lecturer in Shelter Medicine at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, said: “Cold weather can really be tough for our rough sleepers. Even those with a roof over their heads can struggle to pay for heating. We are happy to have a stock of blankets to give away which we hope will be helpful.”

Funding for the service comes from the University’s Cascade fund. Students from the Veterianry School have also been making sterling fundraising efforts. To keep going they  will be looking to secure some longer term funding over the next year, which will mean applying for lots of grants for community projects.

Dr Stavisky said: “We do have capacity to see more clients, especially in the middle of the month. We think it’s such a good resource we would like to be able to carry it on for as long as there are people who need it.”

The project is also supported by Burns Pet Food, Royal CaninCats Protection and Rushcliffe Veterinary Centre. They also receive practical help and referrals from organisations including FrameworkEmmanuel HouseThe FriaryDouble ImpactThe Padley Centre andWomen’s Aid Integrated Services.







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