Big Issue Vendor

StreetVet scoops prestigious £40k pet prize to revolutionise homeless hostels

The Big Issue Changemaker’s Accredited Hostel Scheme has won Purina’s BetterwithPets Prize, allowing them to implement pet positive policies for homeless people and their animal companions

StreetVet’s radical plans to make homeless hostels more pet friendly have been given the green light after they scooped a top pet prize celebrating projects that boost the human-animal bond.

Last week we told you that The Big Issue Changemakers were in the running for the Purina BetterwithPets Prize for their Accredited Hostel Scheme.

StreetVet plans to work with hostel managers and staff to adopt and implement positive pet policies. It is hoped that the work will allow more hostels to accept rough sleepers and their pets, removing a barrier from getting off the streets in the process.

And their project certainly impressed judges yesterday as they awarded the plans top prize in the piloted innovations category, taking home £41,500 to kick-off work across the UK.

It’s a big step for StreetVet, which was co-founded by vets Jade Statt and Sam Joseph in 2016. We tipped them for big things in 2020 due to the life-saving work they do on the streets bringing animal healthcare to rough sleepers and their pets and making often vital-yet-costly treatment affordable and less intimidating for people who may have no other contact with services.

“Everything about StreetVet for me has been a crazy journey, from an idea – just sticking a backpack on and going out, to this being what I do now every day,” said Jade Statt, co-founder of StreetVet. “It comes down to our volunteers, who are amazing, and the strength of the human-animal bond, because that’s why we’re all doing it.

“The best part of this process and StreetVet has been about the people we have met along the way, be it owners with their dogs, or people who have wanted to make a difference.”

StreetVet went up against 150 applications from 23 countries across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa before impressing judges with a five-minute virtual pitch yesterday.

The winners of the competition, run by Purina in partnership with social entrepreneurs Ashoka, were then announced by Bernard Meunier, Purina CEO.

He said: “Especially in complex times like these, the need for social innovation and creative solutions that address society’s problems should be celebrated. We are excited to support these social entrepreneurs as they grow their impact and we congratulate StreetVet and all the commended initiatives on their inspiring pitches.

“The creativity and ingenuity of each of the social entrepreneurs demonstrate the mutual power of the pet-human bond and the importance of working towards a future where solutions outrun problems.”

At The Big Issue we know just how much the bond between our vendors and their pets means to them. That is why the story of Bath vendor Chris and his dog Mack were featured on the cover of the magazine in April while Shane shared his story of how his dogs Mr Fang and Loopy Lou saved him while he went from rough sleeping to permanent housing. The Big Issue is helping vendors to feed their pets during the Covid-19 crisis too.

Image: StreetVet