• Purina BetterwithPets Prize awards £175,000 (€200,000) over two years to three impactful organisations harnessing the pet-human bond to tackle some of society’s major challenges
• Pets As Therapy was awarded for its work in providing visits from therapy pets to help support people who might be struggling with loneliness or mental health issues in a number of different places, such as hospitals, care homes and prisons across the UK
• StreetVet was awarded for its free and essential veterinary care for the pets of those experiencing homelessness on Britain’s streets
• The BetterwithPets prize supports Purina’s wider commitment to help 1,000,000 people by 2030 in vulnerable situations improve their health and wellbeing through the power of the pet human bond
Europe’s leading pet-care company, Purina, has announced the winners of its BetterwithPets prize. Two UK charities are among the three overall winners, whittled down from a shortlist of more than 110 organisations across Europe. Pets As Therapy and StreetVet, along with Spanish organisation Center de Teràpies Assistides amb Cans, all scooped the top spots, being recognised for setting standards and best practice in fostering people’s health and well-being through the power of the pet-human bond.
The three winning organisations will each share a proportion the total £175,000 (€200,000) prize pot, which will be paid out over a two-year period. This will provide crucial funding and resources to help each make an even greater positive impact on the lives of individuals, pets and their communities through the vital work they are already doing.
The winners have the potential to strengthen their impact further and contribute to combat some of the most pressing social issues including providing free veterinary care to those facing homelessness, animal-assisted interventions, and pet visits to people of all conditions and vulnerabilities. These impactful organisations have developed innovative solutions for pets and people who love them.
The three organisations awarded this year’s BetterWithPets Prize are:
• Pets As Therapy (PAT): a national charity that enhances the health and wellbeing of thousands of people in communities across the UK by providing therapeutic pet visits to establishments such as care homes, hospitals, hospices, schools and prisons. More than 400,000 individuals benefit from PAT visits each year.
• StreetVet: a multi-award-winning UK charity that delivers free essential veterinary care and services to the pets that belong to those experiencing homelessness. The bond between many homeless people and their pets is profound and the health and wellbeing of their animal companions is often a major priority for their owners. However, life on the streets makes it difficult to access the care these pets deserve. StreetVet’s team of professional vets and veterinary nurses have provided essential care to more than 2000 people and their pets across the UK, delivering care and support required to ensure their combined wellbeing.
• Spanish organisation Center de Teràpies Assistides amb Cans: an organisation that provide animal-assisted interventions to help people of all conditions such as those in hospital and those in socially compromised situations.
Clare Davis, CEO of Pets As Therapy, stated: “We know PAT visits can’t fix the world, but each and every day our volunteers and their pets are making a difference to people’s lives. From enabling someone lost in the fog of dementia to speak or being a catalyst for someone to speak when they’ve not been able to say what’s wrong. Our impact is immediate it’s in the here and now. If “Pets As Therapy” were an unpolished diamond, winning the BetterwithPets award will help it to shine by widening our reach and helping us refine our training and support, enabling us to address our growing waiting list and provide more PAT teams into the places which need us.”
Jade Statt, Co-Founder and Clinical Director for StreetVet, commented on how the award will help StreetVet grow: “StreetVet understands the importance of the pet-human bond. For our clients, pets provide companionship, non-judgemental love, mental health support, a conduit to social connection and, in many cases, a reason to live. Our work with Purina since 2020 has been game changing and being successful in 2023 reinforces how far StreetVet has come. The funding will help us pursue sustainable growth and create more opportunities to collaborate and maximise our impact.”
Through the prize, Purina aspires to create a network of organisations to collaborate, share best practices, foster initiatives, network, and fundraise - all to build knowledge, scale impact and demonstrate how health and wellbeing can be improved by harnessing the power of the pet-human bond.
Calum Macrae, Regional Director of Purina UK & Ireland, said: “I'm thrilled that two brilliant UK charities are both winners of this year’s Purina BetterWithPets Prize. StreetVet does incredible work in helping to protect the pet-human bond, often when it’s needed most. The mental and physical wellbeing benefits that StreetVet brings to both pets and people experiencing homelessness, is huge.
"Pets As Therapy equally has a huge impact through their work to support vulnerable people. The impressive scale they achieve through their unique model, using volunteer pets and owners, makes a massive difference in local communities. I'm looking forward to working with both charities in the future.”
Purina acknowledges the responsibility of multi-national companies to support high impact non-governmental organisations, not only financially but also by upscaling their work and raising awareness of their activities. Purina aims to publish a flagship report which provides a snapshot of the current ecosystem and identifies any gaps in impact by consolidating the data of more than 110 organisations across 23 countries who applied to the Prize. Demonstrating how, in 2022, pets could contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal number 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
The BetterwithPets Prize initiative builds on Purina’s new commitment to help 1,000,000 people in vulnerable situations improve their health and wellbeing by 2030.
To find out more about Purina’s BetterWithPets Prize winners, click here.