One of the best ways that Greyhound Gap finds to raise funds and raise awareness of the plight of Greyhounds and their potential as pets, is to arrange and hold in-store Meet and Greets and street collections.
We have received fantastic support from Pets At Home stores in and around the UK. Pets at Home allow us to turn up on a prearranged day and remain in store usually between 11am - 4pm. During this time we have the opportunity to speak at length to the general public about the work we do and also the dogs themselves. We try to make sure that dogs currently looking for homes are with us on the day to allow people to see them and sometimes they even gain someone's interest in offering them a home.
We take collection tubs and literature about the work Greyhound Gap does. We can raise anywhere between £100 to £200 on the day which again goes a long way to securing vet treatment for one to two hounds. The Pets At Home staff are always fantastic and welcoming and the response from the general public never ceases to amaze us. Less and less are we hearing "do you race them" and more and more "I hear they make great pets!"
Street Collections can be arranged via the local council, sometimes this is a straight forward process and other times it requires an array of forms to be filled in. The following information was put together by Jen, one of our valued volunteers:
Procedures vary from council to council but I will try to cover everything.
Some councils state that you can only do one collection per year in a particular town/city and some say two but I find that many councils will bend the rules if you are nice to them.
1. Pick your town/city and also think of a few dates that you would like to book. The chances are your first choice date may not be available especially if it falls around Christmas so it's best to have a few dates in mind.
2. Then ring the appropriate council's licensing department. Explain you are calling on behalf of Greyhound Gap and would like to arrange a charity street collection. Most councils I have come across will pencil you in on a certain date over the phone and send the forms for you to fill in and return asap. But I have come across one council who will not sort a date out over the phone but will send you the forms and you have to put your date choices on, send it back and hope one of the dates are available.
Some councils have the forms available through the website for you to download, and have very good info online but that varies from council to council.
3. When you get the forms fill them in and send them back as soon as possible. Most councils expect the forms back at least a month before the collection date unless you have booked a last minute date in agreement with the council. The info required varies from council to council but all will ask for your name, address, date of birth, charity number. The forms look daunting but once you manage to collect all the info you require, all future forms will be easy. Any problems you can contact me or one of the trustees who will be able to give you, or find out, the info you require.
4. The council will then send you your license along with the forms that will need to be filled in after the collection. You should copy the license as everyone who is collecting should have a copy of the license. Read the rules and regulations they will send to you. Every council has different rules and requirements.
5. After the collection you will be required to fill in a form stating how much you have earned and many councils will require for you to have a small article printed in the local paper stating how much you have earned and the charity etc. The council will tell you what info is required.
I e-mail my local paper with the required info and they will usually print a small news piece in the paper. Don't go through the classifieds as this will cost you, e-mail/ring the news desk they will do it for free. All this will need to be done within one month of the collection date.
All this will probably put you off organising a street collection but it is worth bearing in mind that if you have sufficient volunteers you can potentially raise hundreds of pounds compared to smaller amounts raised at Pets at Home etc and the paperwork will seem worth it.
** Just a note about taking dogs on street collections. Ask your council about taking dogs on collections by all means but I have found that most don't know the answer. The general rule is if dogs are allowed to be walked through the town centres then you will be fine to take dogs on collections. I believe London has such restrictions on dogs on collections but have not come across any other councils who won't allow them.
If you are considering taking your dog it is worth remembering that city centres can be extremely busy with a lot of people who tend to grab out, walk into your dog, children walking into them, waving food and toys in front of them, traffic or street sweepers in the pedestrianised bits and lots and lots of noise. You also get lots of dogs walked up and down the streets. If you think your dog will be fine with it then by all means take them, but city centres can be very stressful for dogs if they are not used to them.