Students take the lead in charity dog walk
Taking place at Roundhay Park, the ‘Santa’s Little Helper’ event welcomes all dogs and humans to raise funds for the charity which rescues ‘at risk’ bulldogs, placing them in the care of volunteers and foster families ready to be rehomed.
The team of students is led by Olivia Wright-Lewis, a placement BA (Hons) Events Management student working in our University’s Event Support Service. Olivia devised a social media campaign for the dog walk which she and the team have been running and promoting.
The campaign, ‘Spot Lot’, is centred around Lottie, one of the Edward Foundation’s rescue bulldogs. Ten Lottie soft toys have been positioned in prominent shop windows in Leeds City Centre and the public are being challenged with finding a Lottie, taking a selfie with her and posting it to Twitter, including @EdwardsFriend and using the hashtag #spotlot. The best five selfies will be judged on Friday 27 November and the winners announced that day. All winners receive a toy Lottie and the overall winner also receives a bottle of champagne. Winners must be able to collect their prizes at the dog walk at 3.30pm on Saturday 28 November at Roundhay Park.
Olivia commented: “On the day, the students will be helping to set up the event, managing the traffic in the car parks, controlling registration and handing out ‘doggie goodie bags’. They will be assisting members of the public around the route where needed, running the tombola and raffle and generally helping the event to run smoothly, supporting the public and the charity wherever required.
“The students are also handling some of the dogs that are currently up for adoption and holding a ‘Beauty Parade’ where the public can see the dogs in all their newfound glory. This particular section of the event is being managed by Jordan Gresty, a first year student who was particularly missing his pet dog after moving to Leeds. This event really provides a breadth of experience for the volunteers as they will get the chance to try various roles right through from the set up to the break down and everything in between.
“I think the saying ‘dog is a man’s best friend’ really applies here; all of the students were eager to be involved with this particular event due to either owning a dog themselves or simply being an animal lover. Everyone who hears about the event is very enthusiastic to take part or help out in some way as most people understand the special bond you have with a pet.”
Emma Heslington, Event Support Service Co-ordinator at our University, said: “We are delighted that Olivia is involved in the organisation of this event and that so many students have the opportunity to take part. Live event experience is so important for those on the Events Management course and working on days such as this will increase their professional networks too.”
Commenting on the event Melanie Ellyard at Yorkshire Volunteers said: “We can’t begin to thank all the people that have been kind enough to help us organise this amazing event, we have the support of Leeds Becket event team, CGC Marquees, a large range of local businesses and dog walking groups.
“We have a large heated marquee with lots of Christmas craft stalls, hot refreshments and goodies! Kicking off at 1pm we have carol singers to entertain us as we walk. Each dog gets a free Santa hat and a goody bag care of Frank & Jellys. We also have some fantastic prizes for best dressed dog and human. We are expecting to have a tremendous day full of fun and pre-Christmas spirit!”
Speaking about the Edward Foundation and why the charity is so close to her heart, Olivia said: “Helping the charity has been a particularly great experience for me because working with a completely voluntary charity shows you the passion and drive that the volunteers have towards these dogs. The transformation and journey of the rescued animals is often unbelievable. The Edward Foundation has an amazing community and a lot of support: they work extremely hard to not only save these dogs but nurture, train and care for them until they are ready to find a loving home and be treated as they deserve. I am a dog lover and have four dogs of my own so this event completely pulled at my heart strings from the moment I heard about it.”
The dog walk is free however attendees are asked to either raise sponsorship money or make a donation to the charity on the day. You can register on the day or in advance here. For more information please visit www.theedwardfoundation.co.uk.
The Event Support Service (based at the UK Centre for Events Management (UKCEM) at our University) is run by qualified events management graduates and fresh-thinking undergraduates. Olivia began a year’s work placement with the team starting in August 2015. The Service provides high quality expertise to clients, ensuring that events reach their full potential. The team provides everything from full event management to support on staffing, social media campaigns, marketing or consultancy on event design. For more information, please contact ESS@leedsbeckett.ac.uk or 0113 812 9161.