Why dogs can end isolation and create accessible employment opportunities for the disabled community.
Did you feel lonely, isolated or even a bit ‘stir crazy’ during the last 16 months of the pandemic?
How many of you succumbed to buying a dog as an incentive to get out of the house or just for a good, old cuddle – in these more isolated times?
Whether you’ve found it to be a positive or a negative working from home, we’re all agreed that we feel lucky to be employed after the last 18 months of increase unemployment, recruitment freezes and furlough – all creating an atmosphere of uncertainty about what our economic futures hold.
We can now have a more compassionate understanding of how it must feel to be disabled (whether visibly disabled or invisible).
You can’t take for granted that you’ll have opportunities to live as you’d like, are often cut off from community or work opportunities and can face length periods of loneliness.
Of the 8.4 Million people of working age (16-64) registered as disabled in the UK, only 53.6% are in employment.
Whilst this was an increase year on year (in Oct-Dec 2020), it is still lower in comparison to those who don’t have a disability, with just 18.3% non-disabled people being unemployed – a whopping 35% difference.
As you’d imagine, Covid certainly hasn’t helped matters.
The proportion of disabled people who are either unemployed or economically inactive has risen from 45.9% to 47.7% this year.
That’s over 4 Million people in the UK whose mental health, self-esteem and contact with the outside world, has likely been compromised, by factors completely outside of their own control.
The link between employment and improved self-esteem has long been documented: Unemployment and Mental Health
As this analysis from the Health Organisation points out, unemployment and mental health is bio-directional.
When you have positive mental health, it boosts your employability.
When your employability declines, your mental health can decline and depression and anxiety often appear as financial stresses take their unfortunate toll.
As many of us may have experienced a job loss, loss of earnings, or even just fallen privy to more financial instability during the last 18 months, hopefully we will have more empathy for anyone that’s disability has prevented them from joining the UK workforce and participation in the economy.
This is where Dogs for Good come in.
If your empathy can translate into wanting to take action, maybe as an Employer you could see how we can right some wrongs via the Dogs for Good corporate sponsorship programmes?
Dogs for Good provide assistance dogs to their service users and clients.
Their furry friends literally help revolutionise lives.
Take this story about how Eider has helped Heather go back to work:
Charitable fundraising has been hit hard in the last 18 months by the pandemic and Dogs for Good are no exception.
They’ve suffered a 25% decrease in voluntary income, as face to face fundraising and their usual ‘Challenge’ events have obviously had to be postponed.
In 2020 they qualified 17 new dogs as Assistance dogs – which is only 1/3 of what they had planned for the year.
Plus COVID’s caused an additional challenge – how to support their clients with social distancing measures in place.
Many of DFG’s clients have reported that the long periods of isolation have had a detrimental impact on their mental wellbeing and a further loss of confidence.
While people with assistance dogs have reported that their pet became even more invaluable as a real ‘lifeline’, Dogs for Good have also had to help the dogs themselves, who have suffered by being more confined to ever-shrinking local areas, due to the stricter social distancing guidelines in the first and second waves especially.
Dogs for Good have a waiting list of over 5,000 people enquiring about support dogs.
A dog would enable them to live the best version of their life possible, with far more independence, confidence and open a world of new opportunity.
This year they need to raise £3 million to fund the running and development of the training and facilitation programmes needed to help their amazing clients get back into their communities and back into employment.
Dogs for Good offer a range of corporate sponsorships starting from as little as £1,000 and more bespoke partnerships can be created.
If you have a Corporate Fundraising scheme at work and you’d like to participate in an annual scheme – the Puppy Partnership is £5,000 per year.
Your company can embark (pun embarrassingly intended) on a 12-month relationship with DFG, that will see “your puppy” go through training and socialise with their new ‘family’…. And yes I am blubbing while typing this.
Your company can even name the Puppy – one of the most ethical and brilliant forms of “product placement” I’ve come across this year.
Plus, it’s a really nice opportunity to have a wellbeing boost, amongst your Team.
Who doesn’t love knowing they’re contributing to improving people’s lives? Who doesn’t love getting pictures of dogs?
DFG will send your company regular updates on how the new partnership is going.
Plus, if you happen to help support someone back into employment through your Puppy Sponsorship, your team will ‘KNOW’, they’ve contributed massively towards helping level the playing field when it comes to reducing the number of disabled people in unemployment.
While we appreciate requests for fundraising are at all-time high, those of us working in the HR and recruitment space understand how vital it is, we help mobilise the disabled work force.
In fact, we believe that dogs and technology, (not necessarily our politicians unfortunately), present the best opportunity to change so many people’s lives for the better over the coming years.
We just need a bit of support from You – our friends working within our UK businesses.
Let’s all help benefit society and the economy by making employment accessible to as many people as possible.
Let’s focus on everyone’s ability, not their disability.
This really is the Future of Work we need to see.
A dog really is a friend for life and an actual lifeline for so many.
Get involved today and let’s make Change for Good, with Dogs for Good.