A north-east charity that aims to improve people’s mental health through group dog walks is preparing to hold a Halloween fair as it marks the receipt of a major grant.
Pawpalz was founded last year after Ellon resident Toby McKillop decided to spread the positive impact he got from spending time with his rescue dog Ebby.
It has since expanded into two groups – a women’s and a men’s – with plans to start up new branches in towns across the north-east.
And in July this year, Mr McKillop was thrilled to discover Pawpalz had been granted charity status by OSCR.
The Halloween event will be the group’s biggest since that status was awarded.
‘Who doesn’t like doggies in costumes?’
Set to take place on October 31, the fair will be held in the grounds surrounding Ellon Castle, and will feature a number of stalls and prizes for top pumpkins and best-dressed children and dogs.
Mr McKillop said: “We felt it be good for the locals to have an event like this, its been a long time since there’s been stuff like this for folk so hopefully it’s a fine day for it.
“The members of Pawpalz are the ones running with this really. It shows how invested folk feel in the charity now, so it’s a rare feeling to be putting this on.
“The Halloween show was suggested as a way of saying thank you to the local community for their amazing reaction to Pawpalz, and we felt folk deserved to let their hair down a bit and hopefully enjoy the Covid-safe games and the fancy dress comp.
“Let’s face it, who doesn’t like doggies in costumes?”
He added: “It is brilliant to have two local charities working together on this, Ellon Castle Gardens and Pawpalz, and I want to thank them for allowing us to host this event in their stunning location.”
The charity has recently received a further piece of good news, with the awarding of a Positive Action Grant from Live Life Aberdeenshire.
The grants are awarded by the council-run service to organisations that will “deliver innovative sports and cultural projects” in the local area.
Mr McKillop said: “We aim to use the grant to help further our aims of providing a Pawpalz walk in as many communities as we can reach.
“We have currently got four members taking part in training provided by the Scottish Recovery Network, on completion of the training and alongside mentoring we will provide, we hope to expand further in the shire then hopefully nationally after that.
“The grant will allow us to purchase items we will need for our walk leaders and to hire spaces in towns and villages for a presentation, inviting folks that may be interested in starting a walk.”
Those interested in buying a stall at the Halloween fair can message Pawpalz through their Facebook page or email pawpalzpack@outlook