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The Corporation

Posted: 15/04/16

Puppy room pays off

Visitors of the four-legged and furry variety were welcomed to West Nottinghamshire College last week for awareness raising and fundraising.

  • Back Nichola Bonsall and Kitt's trainer Fiona Gunn with Chelsea Cheetham, front Caitlin Brown, Kira Brammer and Mercedes Ward Norris
  • Rebecca Hudson and Ella Farnsworth meet Flynn who supports Steve Bowles in his everyday life

Guide dog trainers, walkers and the dogs and owners themselves were on hand at the Derby Road campus on Wednesday (6 April) after an A Level student came up with a great idea for a puppy room at the Mansfield College.

Sixteen-year-old Chelsea Cheetham, who is currently studying for her AS Level exams, has been busy researching the benefits of lowering stress levels that comes with petting animals. It was this fact which got her thinking that she could help fellow colleagues undergoing exam and revision stress.

Chelsea, who is studying for her AS Levels in biology, geography and English literature, liaised with Guide Dogs and organised the event which enabled learners to meet the dogs and their owners and trainers and discover more about the training and lives of a guide dog.

Chelsea also used her entrepreneurial skills and charged a £2 entry fee into the puppy room. Throughout the afternoon over £160 was raised. The cash will be going towards a Guide Dogs’ Schools Name a Puppy scheme where the college will be able to name a training guide dog puppy by raising £1,500.

Chelsea said: “It was great to see so many students taking the opportunity to learn more about the life of a guide dog and how they help their owners.

“I did some research on the benefits of how stroking animals can lower the heart rate and stress. With me and my classmates going through revision for exams coming up, I thought this would be a perfect way to help us, as well as learn more about the way Guide Dogs works.”

Nichola Bonsall, community fundraiser for Guide Dogs, said: “Chelsea has done really well to organise today and it’s been a great success. We’ve worked with colleges and universities before with our puppy rooms and we’ve seen the difference it makes to students stress levels when they interact with the dogs. It also helps with the puppy’s socialisation training, so has benefits for everyone

“It’s great to be able to inform people more about our service and to be able to answer their questions.

“We’re looking forward to the college naming a training puppy soon. It costs £50,000 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement and as the charity doesn’t receive any government funding, money raised from initiatives like the puppy room makes a huge difference.”