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Stirling MP Welcomes Animal Guardian Programme Expansion


Categories: Animal Welfare, Charities and Third-Sector, Volunteering

Scottish SPCA Scheme Helps Protect Animals 

Local Stirling MP Alyn Smith has welcomed an announcement from the Scottish SPCA, regarding an expansion to their pioneering Animal Guardians programme. The scheme involves working to support and educate young people who have shown concerning behaviours towards animals, including intentional and unintentional harm.

First launched in 2018, the free programme works in conjunction with a range of community partners, taking referrals from parents, guardians, social workers, police, teachers and other professionals who specialise in supporting young people. Harming animals can often be an early indication of underlying issues elsewhere in a child’s life requiring intervention and support, such as anxiety, lack of self-esteem and regulation of emotion.

The scheme was initially launched to support primary school-aged children, but in recent years around 27% of referrals received have been from outside this age group. In response, the Scottish SPCA are updating the programme to support any young person between the ages of 3 to 16.

Mr Smith, who is also Honorary Vice-President of the Scottish SPCA, hailed the preventative approach to looking after animals and young people alike:

‘The welfare of Scotland’s animals, in all walks of life, is an important issue and I’m glad to see the Scottish SPCA continue to expand their innovative programme of preventative intervention. This is an excellent example of the third-sector working collaboratively and across organisational boundaries to achieve a shared objective, and I really do commend the staff and partners involved. 

‘Young people face a torrent of stress currently, and it is reassuring to know that help and support is available to protect animals from concerning behaviours, whilst also getting to the heart of the issues at hand. I wish the Scottish SPCA the very best of luck for the year ahead, both with the Animal Guardians programme and more generally for their work protecting animals across Scotland.’


More information is available here.