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Vetlife selected as Vets4pets’ Charity of the Year

Every year, Vets4Pets’ Support Office selects a charity to support and fundraise for. In the past, we’ve supported Medical Detection Dogs, Pets as Therapy, and last year, we selected The Cinnamon Trust. We were thrilled to raise funds for this wonderful charity that helps elderly pet owners care for their pets.  Over £35,000 has been raised in the last 3 years alone.

This year, we’ve selected Vetlife, and our Joint Venture Partners are also coming on board to make this the ‘charity of the year’ across our Support Office and the 450-plus Vets4Pets first-opinion veterinary practices. This is the first time we, as a group, have decided to support a particular charity. Mental health and wellbeing are extremely important issues within our profession, and we are dedicated to helping and supporting our colleagues and to foster open communications. With that in mind, Vetlife was the clear choice for us to support this year.

Vetlife is an independent charity that started more than 100 years ago. Its 77 engaged volunteers, who are all from the veterinary industry, dedicate their time to helping the veterinary community via the charity’s free, 24-hour helpline, which people can either call or email. This is just one part of the overall support Vetlife offers to the profession.

As our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee Lead Dr Catriona Curtis says, “It’s a charity that is so important to the vet profession, and they literally change and save lives.”

Alison Clark, our health and safety manager and a registered veterinary nurse, is a two-years-and-counting Vetlife volunteer, mentor, ambassador and area representative. She decided to volunteer with the charity simply because she wanted to help her colleagues and peers, and she’s well aware of the increase in mental health and anxiety issue within our community.  

“We work within an emotionally charged profession,” says Alison. “We’re definitely experiencing an increase in demands from pet owners. Both we as professionals and our clients experience stress and anxiety when it comes to a sick animal. ”

Alison says that contact is made to the Vetlife Helpline for a wide variety of reasons, including stress, mental health problems, workplace concerns and personal issues.

“It’s our role as volunteers to listen, be non-judgemental and where needed, signpost to the right people and bodies who can help,” says Alison.

Vetlife is an independent charity that started more than 100 years ago. Its 77 engaged volunteers, who are all from the veterinary industry, dedicate their time to helping the veterinary community via the charity’s free, 24-hour helpline, which people can either call or email. This is just one part of the overall support Vetlife offers to the profession.

 

In 2018, the Vetlife Helpline received 821 phone calls and 1,954 emails (via a confidential encrypted and anonymised service). That’s a 37% increase compared to 2017 figures. 2018 was the charities busiest year ever, and the Helpline gained 19 new volunteers.

Alison does both 12-hour and 24-hour shifts on the Helpline. Besides taking calls herself, she also helps to select Helpline volunteers.   

Alison finds it very rewarding to being a soundboard to someone in need and being able to help just by simply listening.

“I am absolutely over the moon that Vetlife has been chosen as our charity of the year,” says Alison. “We lose peers due to mental health issues. As veterinary professionals, we’re completely committed to helping animals be healthy. We need to look after everyone in the veterinary community so they can look after our animals!”

For more information about Vetlife, please visit www.vetlife.org.uk.

The Vetlife confidential Helpline can be reached on 0303 040 2551. This 24-hour service is available 365 days a year.

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