For 10 years, the RSPCA has celebrated and rewarded the work of housing providers and others that helps to improve and safeguard animal welfare. However, this is the first time that a national organisation has been awarded Gold for going above and beyond in the services they provide.
Pet ownership has declined over the last decade, largely due to the housing crisis, many private and social landlords not being welcoming of pets, and also the smaller size of new build homes. Hanover takes a very different approach, believing that pet ownership is beneficial to older people's physical, social and psychological wellbeing.
Studies have found that owning a pet can reduce isolation and stress levels, cut your risk of a stroke or heart attack by a third, aid better sleep and even help you to lose weight (by walking the dog for example).
It's great to see Hanover achieving our prestigious Gold award. This is a real testament to the hard work of Hanover staff, their commitment to animal welfare and the health and happiness of their residents.
Mark Lake, Director of Housing and Support at Hanover, said:
‘Resident wellbeing is a top priority for us. For many years we’ve recognised that pets can provide great companionship and also give older people a greater sense of purpose, so it has been vitally important that we provide the right environment that allows that to happen.
‘Being so pet friendly is one of our key strengths and is something that attracts many older people to live on a Hanover estate. We know there are many benefits - individually and collectively - as a result of residents owning pets, so we are obviously delighted to be the first national organisation to be awarded the Gold standard.’
Due to the extremely pet friendly culture in place for residents, nearly half of Hanover estates have pets living there. Looking after an animal can lower isolation for those who live alone. This can include those who may be unable to care for their own pet due to ill health, but enjoy seeing other people’s animals.
Residents in Bracknell became concerned about an African Grey parrot called Jody, following his owner’s death. Jody was eventually adopted by another resident and still lives happily on the estate.
Meanwhile, a Bolton resident has rescued a dog called Oscar, who was found in the streets scavenging for food and suffering from a misaligned spine. Oscar really loves his new home, leading to an improved quality of life and happiness for both owner and pet.