Hypo Hounds share their 2020 journey

posted in: Kent Charity Awards | 0

hypo hounds start up charityHypo Hounds – 2019 Start Up Charity of The Year

In the build up to the Kent Charity Awards entry deadline of 12 April, we asked our 2019 winners how they have coped during the past 11 months.
Hypo Hounds based in Smarden are literally saving the lives of Type 1 Diabetic children in the Kent community one sniff at a time!.  When someone with Type 1 Diabetes has a severe hypo or hyper the consequences can be serious and hospital admission may be required. But with the support of a Hypo Hound, people with diabetes can dramatically reduce their risk of experiencing a hypo.

1. How has Hypo Hounds adapted to the current pandemic?

Like most small new charities there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done.  The pandemic has actually allowed us the time to take stock, rethink and also re-organise the charity to ensure moving forward we are able to provide the very best service possible.  We have improved the charities governance, policies and structure and have utilized the skill base of the board of trustee’s to help drive us forward.   During the first lockdown it allowed us time to slim line our workload moving all files over to a digital system and conducted the dogs training via ZOOM video calls.  This has proved not only to be a useful tool to us but also a vital form of communication between us, our training team and our clients that we would have never considered before.  Our clients have never felt so supported and have been able to commit to training on a more frequent basis.

2.  With the absence of face to face fundraising events how have your managed to fundraise?

The pandemic has hit us hard – with 80% of our income from face to face fundraising activities and as such we have seen a drastic fall in donations.  However, we have again adapted and changed the way we receive an income to support our work by reaching out to grant funders.  Staff have been on grant writing courses to assist them with the success of the grants (which we would never have had the time to do prior to the pandemic).  Because of this and the dedication of our team we have not had to close our services, stop training or dip into our reserves.

3.  When the UK returns to a new normal what will be the first thing your charity does?

For us the first thing we will do as soon as we are able is to start up is 1-1 face to face training with our clients – we have 6 dogs that will be able to take their final “Assistance Dog Exam” to be fully qualified Hypo Hounds as soon as restrictions are lifted.  This acknowledges the hard work and determination of our training team over the last year that these dogs standards have not dropped nor their alerting ability.  Throughout the pandemic we have maintained our 100% success rate of 0 hospital admissions for the children we train the dogs for which is a massive achievement in itself.

4.  We will be entering the Kent Charity Awards again?

The media coverage for the event helped us to reach out to more families that needed our help as well as helped us to recruit new local Kent Trustee’s that have helped to drive the charity into the positive position it is in today.

What we have been up to!

We have recognized that there is a huge amount of pressure put upon the parents of Type 1 Diabetic children and through no fault of their own, many are not able to commit to the time it takes to train a dog which can lead to disappointment and frustration.
We have therefore started up a puppy program where we train the puppies with foster parents and then hand them over to the families when they are full trained.  We have also started up mental well-being counselling services for parents and care givers of these children – a service which is much needed and not provided by the NHS.
We have taken on board feedback given to us by clients and now have a complete holistic approach to the way the charity helps and supports our clients – it is much more than just training a dog.

How to enter

Entries into the 2021 Kent Charity Awards will close on 12 April 2021.  If you know of a charity that you think should be entering these prestigious awards, please ask them to get in contact with us at info@kentcharityawards.com or download the entry form here.