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Dogs to help vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Hampshire's classrooms

2 minute read
Dogs to help vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Hampshire's classrooms

Published at 6:04pm 20th January 2020.

A pilot project to help Hampshire’s vulnerable and disadvantaged children through 'canine assisted learning' has been given the green light.

Hampshire County Council Executive Member for Countryside and Rural Affairs, Councillor Edward Heron, announced the £30,000 of funding at his Decision Day on Thursday (16 January).

Councillor Heron said:

“This innovative pilot between Hart Rotary Club and Canine Assisted Learning is an important step forward in seeing how dogs can be used in a school setting, by trained professionals, to help children communicate and regulate a range of emotions and mental health aspects such as anger, anxiety and low self-esteem.”

The money has been allocated from the Parish and Town Council Investment Fund following an application from Hart Rotary Club.

During the pilot, dogs will be used by practitioners to help eligible 3 to 18-year-olds develop ways to regulate their thoughts and feelings, and find strategies to tackle and replace negative emotions with positive and calming ones. 

Councillor Heron added:

“We look forward to following the progress and outcome of this pilot as we believe there is real potential for the dogs to help Hampshire’s children and young people grasp a whole range of life-long skills – emotional, social and educational.”

The pilot will run for one academic year (2020-2021) and be expected to help more than 30 children at four schools in the Odiham and Hartley Wintney areas, covering more than 600 hours.