Edi vet students to help homeless people and their pets

There are almost 2000 people living on the streets of Edinburgh

Students from the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary studies have launched a festive initiative to help vulnerable people and their animals this Christmas.

The team is offering back packs filled with supplies such as warm winter clothes, first aid materials, basic toiletries, food items and pet supplies.

Students are giving out the back packs to visitors of the All4Paws veterinary clinic – a monthly drop-in where homeless people can access veterinary care for their pets. Gift bags were also being delivered to Social Bite Supper events around the city.

So far, 62 backpacks have been delivered, containing items for both men and women.

The back packs were donated by pet food supplier Royal Canin and filled with donations from staff and students.

The initiative was set up by final year student Jamie-Leigh Thompson, who has been involved with similar projects in previous years.

She said: “I just wanted to try something that will help pet owners in need. The enthusiasm of the school and generosity has completely astonished me.”

Professor Susan Rhind, Director of Veterinary Teaching at the School, said: “This is a tremendous student-led project to support those less fortunate and their pets. We are proud of their inspiring kindness and pro-activity. This is an excellent example of the entire Vet School community coming together to think of others during the festive period.”

The drive comes after a study released earlier this year, undertaken by housing charity Shelter, found a total of 1976 people had slept on the streets of Edinburgh during a two-year period.

It also noted that winter shelters which operate in churches across the city regularly have to turn people away because they’re so full.