Financial boost gives Island charity big lift!

A £16,000 cash grant from the Isle of Wight Foundation will give a very welcome lift for the Island’s Ability Dogs 4 Young People charity, quite literally!

The Foundation, made up of the partners behind Island Roads, has donated the money so that a wheelchair accessible lift can be installed at Ability Dogs 4 Young People’s training centre in Sandown.

The lift will make the two-storey training centre fully accessible to the charity’s 70-plus volunteers and staff. This in turn will help the charity deliver its unique service training assistance dogs (Ability Dogs) to help young people and children with physical or mental disabilities (or both), including cerebral palsy, autism and epilepsy.

There are 700 disabled people under the age of 24 living on the Island, many of who could benefit from an ability dog. There are currently 26 working Ability Dogs on the Island and around 70 disabled people aged between two and 29 waiting for a dog. The charity also helps over 200 youngsters with its Paw 4 U sessions and Therapy Ability Dog visits to special schools and units.

Each year The IW Foundation, comprising Ringway Island Roads, Meridiam, VINCI UK Foundation and VINCI Concession gives grants of between £3,000 and £16,000 to Island charities, good causes and organisations working to tackle social exclusion.

Under the foundation’s grant scheme, an Island Roads employee ‘sponsors’ the application from a group and then acts as a link to build an ongoing bond between the foundation and the recipient.

Island Roads Streetworks Technician Joanna Westwood who is the sponsor of Ability Dogs 4 Young People said: “Colleagues have been supporting Ability Dogs 4 Young People since they were voted our staff charity of the year for 2018. I am delighted that the Isle of Wight Foundation has continued their support and I look forward to helping the charity to develop the fantastic work they do in reducing social exclusion on the Island.”

Carol Court founder and Chief Executive of Ability Dogs 4 Young people said: “Improving our training centre to a level expected these days will enable us to welcome and therefore help more youngsters with disabilities. As we grow, we would like to provide many more open sessions, vastly increasing the number of disabled young people we support.”