BRAVEHOUNDS ARE TOP DOGS IN NATIONAL LOTTERY AWARDS
Scottish charity wins major award for life-changing and emotive work with veterans
The Bravehound project, which provides training and dogs to support our brave military veterans, is celebrating after winning a National Lottery Award.
Scottish TV presenter and Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers visited the organisation to break the news that it has been voted the UK’s Best Voluntary/Charity project in the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded good causes.
The Bishopton-based initiative, run by Glen Art, beat off competition from 1,300 entries to win a public vote which gets them a £5,000 cash prize, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and an appearance on a special BBC One Show next month.
Bravehound was launched in 2016 to match dogs with veterans, to help them return to civilian life. Most veterans leave the armed forces and adapt well to civilian life but many face real difficulties, in particular those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The charity offers much need support and companionship to former members of the armed forces.
Today, JJ Chalmers, a former Royal Marine, from Dunfermline, who sustained severe injuries to his arms and legs while serving in Afghanistan, dropped into the project to deliver the news to members of the organisation and Bravehound recipients.
He said: “The Bravehound project is a brilliant idea which makes a vital difference in the lives of veterans in assisting them to adapt to civilian life.
“It can be difficult to adjust after leaving the armed forces especially for those who have experienced trauma in combat. But these companion dogs and the support from charity provide great comfort to those fortunate enough to receive them.
“They fully deserve this National Lottery Award -.”
Veteran Mick McConnell, who lost a leg while serving in Afghanistan, received Sasha, a sprocker spaniel from the charity earlier this year.
He said: “My Arms Explosive Search Dog dog Memphis was with me when I was injured in Afghanistan and when he was retired, I was able to be reunited with him. He helped me through some dark days as I recovered from my injuries.
“Sadly Memphis passed away earlier this year and I was devastated. But thanks to Bravehound, I was introduced to Sasha and we are inseparable. She is such a great help to me – she gets me out and about and makes me laugh all the time.
“I am so happy that to see the Bravehound programme being recognised with a National Lottery Award.”
Fiona Macdonald, Bravehound founder and director, added: “National Lottery funding was crucial in the establishment of Bravehound and has allowed us to help many veterans.
“We believe dogs can help heal the invisible wounds that those who have seen military action carry with them.
“We are delighted to have won a National Lottery Award and to be recognised in this way by the public, not just in Scotland but throughout the UK. I’d like to thank everyone who voted for us for enabling us to provide this vital service for our veterans.”
The winners of the National Lottery Awards are decided by the public - 4396 people voted for Bravehound to win Best Voluntary/Charity project.
You can see more about the impact of Bravehound on a special BBC One show on Wednesday 27 September, which will profile the seven winners of this year's National Lottery Awards.
For further information please contact The National Lottery Awards:
Sarah Myers, 0141 242 1414/0782861796 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pics from Mark Gibson: 07792445437:
Scottish TV presenter and Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers presents veteran Mick McConnell and his companion dog Sasha with a National Lottery Award after the Bravehound project was voted the UK's favourite Voluntary/Charity project in the 2017 National Lottery Awards.