Press release

Caring Canines wins a Big Society Award

The innovative Bournemouth voluntary group Caring Canines has won the Prime Minister's Big Society Award.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Prime Minister David Cameron has praised a Bournemouth voluntary group for their innovative work connecting volunteers and their dogs with care homes, hospitals, hospices, sheltered housing and special needs schools. Caring Canines, facilitates 100 visits each week across the area through their group of 131 volunteers and is the latest winner of a Big Society Award.

Caring Canines was set up by dog lovers Sue Dennett and Julie Lankshear in 2006 after they were inspired by the positive impact they saw their pets have on other people. Caring Canine volunteers support therapy sessions, which are reported to bring a sense of calm to participants.

The organisation has recently extended their ‘TherapyWise’ programme to include the Assisted Learning Unit at Bournemouth University, providing comfort to 5 young people who have additional needs each week, supporting them at a time when they may be struggling with exams.

This year also marks the 5-year anniversary of Caring Canine’s ‘Be Bookwise’ programme, where young people in 5 local schools who struggle with reading are given a dog as a ’Book Buddy’. This added comfort helps build the youngsters confidence and self esteem allowing them to improve their literacy and enjoy reading.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

The Caring Canines group is bringing a little light into the lives of those facing challenges such as serious illnesses and isolation. This fantastic team of Bournemouth volunteers recognise the comfort and companionship pets can bring. I’m pleased to make them Big Society Award winners.

Julie Lankshear and Susan Dennett, founders of Caring Canines, said:

We are enormously proud of what our members have achieved and to have this high level of thanks and acknowledgement will mean the world to each one past and present.

Published 23 October 2014