The first prison-based dog training programme in the UK, Paws for Progress was introduced to HM YOI Polmont in August 2011, and continues to operate successfully. We have been working hard to ensure the project is sustainable in the long term and are very pleased to announce that Paws for Progress was registered as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in February 2014 (see ‘About Us: Paws CIC’ for further details). Since then, we have expanded our services to help even more people and animals; enhancing wellbeing, developing skills and promoting positive human animal interactions.Paws for Progress at HM YOI Polmont
We are very grateful to our project partners, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), Fife College and the University of Stirling, who continue to provide resources and excellent support to Paws for Progress. We have fantastic support from the SPS, including a dedicated ‘Dog Training Workshop’ which was refurbished in early 2015 and a fulltime SPS Officer working with the Paws for Progress staff team. We are also grateful for the support given to us by the senior management team and all the staff at HM YOI Polmont. The increased Learning Support provided by Fife College continues to be greatly appreciated, as does their help developing additional learning opportunities and qualifications for our students. We are delighted to have such a great team working together, combining the skills and expertise of all of our partnering organisations.
We are pleased to be working with multiple Scottish dog rescue charities including Labrador Retriever Rescue Scotland, Any Dog‘il Do Rescue, Staffordshire Rescue Scotland and the Dog Aid Society of Scotland. We are thrilled to be working with so many partners to help improve the welfare of rescue dogs in the UK.
We are delighted to report that 2016 has got off to a flying start at Paws for Progress, and we are very grateful to have received generous donations towards our work from The Woodhaven Trust, the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the Nancie Massey Charitable Trust and Foundation Scotland.
We are very grateful for the generous ongoing support given by The Robertson Trust, who have provided excellent support to us throughout our development (including supporting us to set up Paws for Progress CIC) and continue to play a key supporting role for the organisation.
Our successful grant awarded from the Big Lottery Scotland: Young Start Fund is vital to ensuring our project at HM YOI Polmont continues to operate successfully, by funding the post of our Course Instructor. When announcing the grants awarded, Chair of Big Lottery Fund Scotland, Maureen McGinn, said: “Young Start helps ensure that Scotland’s next generation has the best possible start in life”; we share this ambition and look forward to reporting more success in achieving this as the project at HM YOI Polmont continues.
We are grateful to Comic Relief who have provided funding for a key member of staff over the last year through Foundation Scotland. Comic Relief raises money through fundraising campaigns such as Red Nose Day and Sport Relief, and we greatly appreciate their support.
We have now had our Paws vehicle, which we use to transport the rescue dogs safely to and from the course at HM YOI Polmont, for nearly a year. Funded by The Clothworkers’ Foundation and Foundation Scotland, this vehicle is invaluable to Paws as having access to transport for the dogs is critical for allowing us to carry out our work.
Our thanks also to the Robert Barr Charitable Trust, The Cross Trust and Santander for their generous support, enabling us to improve the outcomes of the young people and dogs who are involved. The research component of the project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
At Paws for Progress, we are very fortunate to have supporting organisations and many great volunteers who contribute to our training sessions too. We are very grateful to the ever increasing number of organisations that support us, providing external speakers for course sessions and / or work experience opportunities for Paws for Progress graduates. These organisations include Blair Drummond Safari Park, Broadleys Veterinary Hospital, Edinburgh Zoo, Medics Against Violence (MAV), Tynewater Dog Training, Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), Police Scotland, Tellington TTouch UK, the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT), the Guide Dog Association, Muiravonside Kennels and Cattery, Safe Paws, the Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA) and Willows Animal Sanctuary.
We really appreciate the interest and support which has been shown to Paws for Progress by so many people. There are many volunteers involved helping us develop and deliver our services, and many more sharing information about Paws for Progress far and wide. We thank all our supporters who have been involved in fund raising initiatives for Paws for Progress; we are very fortunate to have such a fantastic team of volunteers, and your support makes such a positive difference to all involved. To find out more about how to become involved with Paws for Progress and receive regular updates and news, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@PawsforProgress). We are very grateful for the donations which have been made through our Amazon Wishlist as can be seen in the letter from our students below.
Our thanks to everyone helping us achieve our ambition to deliver positive change in the lives of both people and animals.