The Exeter Chiefs Foundation has donated £10,000 to local charity Veterans With Dogs to enable it to purchase a dedicated vehicle. The fully branded van was unveiled at a launch attended by Trustees Marc Astley and Keiron Northcott from the Exeter Chiefs Foundation and Craig MacLellan, chief executive of Veterans With Dogs.
The official club charity of the Exeter Chiefs, the Exeter Chiefs Foundation was set up in 2011 to help promote the local community and the vision of people who live and work in the area. All of the money raised by the Foundation is donated to worthy causes in and around Exeter with a focus on supporting ‘tangible’ investments. Since its inception the Foundation has helped to directly fund over 120 different charities and organisations in a series of wide-ranging projects and schemes.
Exeter Chiefs Foundation Trustee, Marc Astley, said: “Veterans With Dogs makes a huge difference to the lives of many people and we were delighted to be able to help them by making this donation.
“There are a whole fleet of vehicles being used by different charities and organisations across Devon which have been funded by the generous donations of our supporters and this is the latest to take to the road.
“In the current climate, we know the role the Exeter Chiefs Foundation plays in backing worthy causes is more important than ever. If anyone would like to contribute in any way, we’d urge them to contact The Foundation.“
Speaking at the unveiling, Craig MacLellan, Chief Executive of Veterans With Dogs said: “We are very grateful for the support from the Exeter Chiefs Foundation and their generous donation of £10,000. Thanks to this, and money awarded to us by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, we now have a fantastic branded vehicle, featuring the Exeter Chiefs Foundation logo, which will enable us to transport our veterans and their dogs in comfort when attending our residential training courses. It will also help to raise our profile in and around the area when the team are out and about, visiting veterans and attending events.”
Veterans With Dogs trains and provides assistance dogs for current and former members of the British Armed Forces with service-related mental health conditions using its unique PALS (Partner Animals Life Skills) training programme. The training is a combination of home support and residential courses, with annual assessments thereafter to maintain the fully accredited assistance dog status. The dogs that undergo this training are always ‘on shift’, providing the veteran with 24/7, 365 days of assistance. They not only change the lives of the veterans – in some cases, they save them too.
The charity is also supported by Forthglade, the Devon based natural pet food maker, whose continued support means its dogs, whose vital support helps change veterans’ lives, can benefit from a natural and nutritious diet. Forthglade, whose company logo is featured on the vehicle, provides discounted food for the charity’s dogs and goody bags at events.