One of our stories has earned a charity a new sponsor for the next five years.

Search and Rescue Dogs Association (SARDA) spoke to us for a feature for the Manx Independent earlier this month, as it is nominated for the Local Hero Award at November’s Isle of Man Newspapers Awards for Excellence.

Thanks to our news story, which highlighted the valuable work the charity does for the island, a family have decided to fund half of SARDA’s expenses for the next five years.

Jim Macgregor from the charity said: ’It’s half of our running costs for five years and it’s also enabled us to purchase the next SARDA dog.

’The sponsor is not a trust or another organisation and the individual said they saw the story in the paper and like supporting animal charities. It’s made a massive difference and it means we can stop worrying about funds for expenses.’

Jim said a lot of charities have two years’ worth of reserves but SARDA was down to a year’s worth before this sponsorship.

’It’s exciting to be getting a new rescue dog, Holly’s due to retire soon and she’s probably got about two more years of working,’ he said.

’It takes about the same amount of time to train a dog up, so it’s perfect timing really.

’Without the news story, this [sponsorship] wouldn’t have happened. I think it highlights the work of smaller charities.

’We haven’t got time to do publicity work and local people reading what’s happening on the Isle of Man and what we do really does make a difference.’

Jim said SARDA has recruited three new volunteers thanks to the article, with one potentially training a new dog.

He added: ’We have the Parish Walk coming up to raise awareness of the charity. I’ll be wearing a dog suit made by a textiles student at St Ninian’s High School.’

lNews stories in our papers are free.

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