James Davies, Care and Access Assistant Head of Department said the work of ADNI is very relevant to the health and social care curriculum and he hoped the relationship with the charity would be mutually beneficial. He added that he was delighted that Geraldine McGaughey, CEO and founder of ADNI and volunteer ‘foster’ mother Jean Bishop Greentree had agreed to speak to the students about the charity’s work and introduce them to Joy, a four month old Labradoodle puppy.
“Geraldine’s talk was inspirational and gave us a great insight to the tremendous work the charity does. She spoke about the difference assistance dogs can make to people’s lives. Our students were very interested to learn about ADNI’s work with children with additional needs, such as autism but also will how the assistance dogs can be trained to do simple tasks around the house to help people with limited mobility.
He added: “Training assistance dogs is expensive and the Care and Access department hopes to raise enough money through our fundraising activities this year to pay for the full training for one puppy which costs around £5000.
“Staff and students are fully behind this fundraising drive and having been coming are coming up with lots of innovative and fun fundraising ideas to help us reach this target.”
Geraldine McGaughey thanked the Care and Access students and staff for selecting ADNI as their nominated charity.
“It’s a fantastic boost for us to know that you will be not only be helping to raise valuable funds for ADNI to help us with our work but by getting involved, you will be also helping to raise awareness about the charity.”
“I could tell you so many stories about how assistance dogs have made such a difference to families of children on the autistic disorder syndrome. When the dogs are fully trained, they not only help calm and reassure the child but can act as a physical anchor – they are trained to stop a distance back from kerb at the edge of the road to stop children from bolting when they are frightened.
“We also supply dogs to the Children’s Hospice where they work as therapy dogs with children undergoing cancer treatment and in a UK first, the charity has supplied a dog to the NI court service which has proved very successful as a support for children who have to go through the trauma of giving evidence in court cases.”