Suffolk Dog Day returns to Helmingham Hall on July 28th
Did you know that every penny raised over the last decade, over £500,000 has all been donated back to Suffolk charities and community groups?
Almost 250 grants have been awarded to support an estimated 145,000 vulnerable people in Suffolk of all ages from every corner of the County. It’s a wonderful story about Suffolk giving back to Suffolk on two legs and four!
For every pound our sponsors and stallholders provide another £2 is raised by the people of Suffolk coming along to Suffolk Dog Day year after year. It really is a team effort.
The original idea for Suffolk Dog Day came about twelve years ago when a group of friends met for dinner wanting to raise money to support Suffolk Community Foundation’s work to raise funds for local causes. We lose around 80% of funds raised locally to just 2% of the largest national charities, so it’s important to have local events out their fighting to support our local charities. In reality, it is these small charities that provide so much of the support that vulnerable people in our county need. It’s a frustratingly topsy-turvy situation. The idea was that a few volunteers would put on a small dog show for the locals in Helmingham. Here we are, only little over a decade later and #PawPower has helped support so much great work in Suffolk. It has fed families via foodbanks, relieved the loneliness of older people, supported those fighting addiction, experiencing domestic violence or sexual abuse, the list goes on. It’s important work and its vital support.
That small handful of volunteers received the shock of their lives when over 3,000 people and their dogs showed up at the first Suffolk Dog Day. Roads were jammed with traffic, brides struggled to get to the church on time and it became very clear that Suffolk really wanted a dog show on a much bigger scale. Mandy Abdel-Aziz from the Foundation was one of the original volunteer team. She remembers, ‘We just couldn’t believe our eyes as Helmingham Hall filled with not just hundreds but thousands of people. It was amazing to see local people from all walks of life having a such great time, I’ll never forget it!’
The day is still run by a committed band of volunteers, but now between 6,000-8,000, people attend raising around £60,000 for Suffolk each year. For the past 3 years the lead of the Volunteer Committee known as ‘Chair Dog’ has been Richard Cooper.
He says “It’s quite a privilege to be a custodian of a day that has become so special to so many, but also such an important day for Suffolk charities. I’m sure nobody 12 years ago imagined that we would raise over £500,000 from a ‘little dog show’, but we have and we have to get it right every year, because Suffolk really needs us to.”
“We are really grateful for Suffolk Dog Day supporters for boosting the funds that we can apply for and so for supporting our work generally.
We are delighted that the grant money we get from Suffolk Community Foundation. It goes to bring joy and relief for families and young children on the children wards at the Ipswich Hospital and James Pagett hospital. The clowns help young people feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar environment.
In a challenging situation Artlink clowns provide lightness and fun when the children have a lack of control, giving them confidence at a scary time.”
Suffolk Artlink, Ipswich and North Suffolk
“We have been very fortunate and have had a few grants and it is a wonderful thing as the Suffolk Community Foundation are partners rather than just a funding agency. We support people with acquired brain injury, dementia and vulnerable people generally, and they are often people who wouldn’t get help elsewhere.
As for Suffolk Dog Day, I am a dog owner myself and I am very grateful to anyone who donates anything, it is a very altruistic thing to do. You are having fun but also participating in something even bigger.’
Pathways Care Farm, Bury St Edmunds
“We would like to say thank you to the dog-owners for their support at Suffolk Dog Day and we hope they realise the good that their money does.
Having a grant from Suffolk Community Foundation gives young people the opportunity to showcase their talent to a wider community but also provides a positive image of them to the town. We are broadening access to the arts and the grant money enables us to improve the quality of a production, the scenery, costumes etc. Our different productions provide a professional experience, but within their own community”
B&B Young Peoples Theatre Group, Lowestoft
“We’d like to thank all the Suffolk Dog Day supporters. Your generosity to the funds is much appreciated. Suffolk Community Foundation are a great organisation that helps us find grants so we can meet the needs of our clients. We can make a huge difference to the people we help and the services we offer such as art groups for the carers of people living with dementia and the groups who meet to reduce social isolation.”
Gatehouse Caring, Bury St Edmunds
“The support we get from the Suffolk Community Foundation is vital to help us support the broad range of marginalised and disadvantaged adults and children that we support to make significant changes in their lives through the power of nature. We are especially grateful to those who organise and attend Suffolk Dog Day as it raises so much money for Suffolk charities like us.”
Green Light Trust, Lawshall
So what can £60,000 – a year’s profit from Suffolk Dog Day – actually achieve?
Here is an example from grants awarded by Suffolk Community Foundation over the past 12 months:
£60,000 of grant-funding was awarded to 24 charities and community groups who delivered individual projects reaching an estimated 15,599 people.
- 5,066 children and young people
- 36 homeless people
- 300 people with alcohol and drug addictions
- 4,600 older people
- 1,073 people with mental health issues
- 204 people living with disabilities
Some example projects funded included ...
£1,000 to Suffolk Artlink to provide Clown Around session to children in Ipswich Hospital
£1,500 to Suffolk Cruse Bereavement Care to support Volunteers deliver counselling sessions
£2,000 to The Mix to deliver The Crucial Crew Youth Project in Stowmarket
£1,000 to Suffolk Mind to deliver an Early Minds programme at Whitehouse Primary School in Ipswich
£1,000 to Bury St Edmunds Contact Centre to deliver a safe environment for children to meet their parents during times of family conflict
£1,000 to Suffolk Rape Crisis for councelling sessions in West Suffolk
£2,000 to Selig (Suffolk) Trust in support of the Ipswich Night Shelter
£2,000 to Suffolk Accident Rescue Service towards the purchase of ultrasound equipment
£1,000 to Fressingfield Scout Group to purchase an oven to develop cooking skills
£2,000 to Dennington Jubilee Hall to provide new furniture for their community hall
£1,400 to Hour Community to provide help at home for the elderly and less mobile in Framlingham
£1,815 to Ipswich and East Suffolk Samaritans to assist with their volunteer outreach programmes
£1,000 to Suffolk Refugee Support towards helping refugees into work
£2,000 to Young People Taking Action to support evening youth session in Leiston and Saxmundham
So, to carry on all this good work, this year’s event needs to be bigger and better than ever! Event Producer, Laura Ripman is brimming with confidence:
“We are all pulling together to make sure that this is our best Suffolk Dog Day ever! It’s an event for the whole family in the most beautiful surroundings. Suffolk’s love of dogs seems to remove all the barriers. Any dog walker will know – go for a stroll in the park and you are much more likely to be spoken to – it breaks down so many barriers. It’s not Crufts, it’s not about doggy excellence in that way – it’s an event by the people of Suffolk for the people of Suffolk and it’s the best fun you’ll have had in years!!”
Sounds pawfect, what’s not to love?!
You are also still welcome to offer your services as a volunteer for this year’s event.
We’d love you to join the team please.
Tickets are available on the day priced at £10 for adults and £5 for children with a family ticket for a very reasonable £25.
For more information about the event visit www.suffolkdogday.com
You can give to the Suffolk Community Foundation via JustGiving below
Suffolk Dog Day
Find out the full details on our Suffolk Dog Day website