A group of Support Dogs’ volunteers in Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales are celebrating after being awarded almost £7,500 from the Big Lottery Fund.

The Grassington Friends of Support Dogs Community Project has received the funding to support the setting up a small community shop in the village in aid of Yorkshire-based national charity Support Dogs.

Support Dogs trains assistance dogs for children with autism and adults with epilepsy and physical disability, enabling to lead safer, more independent lives.

The shop, which sells clothes, crafts, books and furniture, also doubles as a community hub, to encourage volunteering and village-based activities. The funding will support a full-time volunteer co-ordinator for six months.

The community shop’s primary role is to fundraise and build awareness of Support Dogs, which the Grassington Friends been supporting for the past decade, over raising £40,000 for the charity.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be supported by the Big  Lottery Fund, which will enable our first-ever community shop to become established in the village,” said Danny Anderson, fundraising manager of Support Dogs.

“Our life-changing work transforms people’s lives, but we are completely reliant on the efforts like the Grassington Friends to enable us to keep going.”

Linda Knowles of Grassington Friends, who has lived in the village for 40 years and is a long-time supporter of Support Dogs, said the community shop was a real shared effort.

“All the fixtures and fitting have been donate by the community – one shopkeeper supplied a till, another gave us a steam cleaner,” says Linda, 70. “We’ve had donations from a shop in Threshfield nearby, and friends from the local community all helped with the ins and outs of setting up the shop.

"Now we are up and running lots of locals are doing volunteer shifts in the shop. We really are all in it together.”

March 2018