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Dog may relief students from exam’s stress

A university has funded dog walking for students in order to prevent stress during the exam season.

The University of East Anglia, in Norwich, received around £12,000 of funding to help improve student well-being through physical activity. Part of this money is going towards pet therapy.

Students will be able to go on walks with dogs to Cromer beach and Thetford Forest. The dogs will be lent to the university by academics and members of the public. The university is also in contact with a local dog day care to see if they can lend their animals to the cause.

The initiative is funded by the taxpayer through Sport England, which receives money from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, as well as being partially-funded by the National Lottery.

Research by UEA academic Professor Andy Jones from the Norwich Medical School suggests that the benefits of dog walking are significant, he said: “Our studies have shown that dog walking helps people to maintain their physical activity levels. In addition it is known that there are a wide range of social and mental health benefits.”

Phil Steele, Director of Sport and Commercial Services, added: “Many students live away from their family homes and pets, so having contact with animals can be stress-relieving for them.

“The charity Pets as Therapy often visits us during exam periods so that students can pet the dogs, with the most recent session seeing hundreds of people queueing out the door- so we know this initiative is going to be hugely popular.

“We also hope to reduce some of the stigma which still surrounds mental health and raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity for mental wellbeing.”

Other welfare initiatives offered by the university include wellbeing advice sessions, resilience and wellbeing workshops, talking therapies, an exercise referral scheme and a student-designed wellbeing app.

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