Double Delight for Shelter Education Team

Prestbury Library collect the David Vaisey award from Edward Gillespie and War Horse author Michael Morpurgo.

The Education Team here at the Shelter have had a busy few months, and their hard work and creativity were recognised recently with two fantastic awards.

Firstly, at Cheltenham Literature Festival, the ‘Paws for Reading’ project won the David Vaisey Prize.

The David Vaisey Trust recognises and rewards outstanding initiatives by public libraries in Gloucestershire which result in more people reading.

Last year we were approached by Prestbury Library to work in partnership and trial an assisted animal therapy program called ‘Paws for Reading’. Every alternate month we take a rescue dog for the students of Ridge Academy School to practice reading skills to, activities included vocabulary worksheets, word searches, a rhyming basket, literacy dominoes and mindfulness colouring. In the other month a small group of students would visit the shelter to practice their reading skills to our rescue cats.

Reading to animals offers the opportunity for students to improve their reading accuracy, speed, comfort and confidence. Another added benefit of the program is that the animals in the shelter are gaining socialization and companionship throughout the reading sessions.

Following on from the David Vaisey prize our HALT Project won a Spotlight Prize at the Impact Awards hosted by Gloucestershire Constabulary and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. (OPCC)

The award ceremony is designed to recognise the outstanding work of officers, organisations, volunteers and members of public, who all work to make Gloucestershire a safe place to live. The OPCC has been funding our Humans and Animals Learning Together for a few years now, allowing us to offer places to at risk young people, with the aim of helping them integrate and perform better in mainstream education. The courses have always received fantastic feedback and are known for their ingenuity and success, but this is the first time the hard work has been publicly recognised.

The awards were held at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel and attended by Shelter Manager Pete Newcombe, Dani, Deb and Erica from the Shelter Education Team with Claire representing our Trustee Board. Dame Janet Trotter (The Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire) and Martin Surl (Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner) presented the award.