RESIDENTS of Ash Grove sheltered housing scheme in Fernhurst are reaping the benefits of the management’s loving attitude to pets.

For the seventh year in a row, the scheme manager Hanover Housing Association, has retained its coveted RSPCA Community Animal Welfare Footprint.

It is the only national housing association to receive the award for its contribution to improving animal welfare.

Recent studies have found companion animals can help to lower blood pressure and regulate a person’s heart rate during stressful situations, looking after an animal can also give older people a sense of purpose and reduce isolation for those who live alone.

The RSPCA initiative, which began in 2008, is designed to celebrate, promote and reward the work of housing providers and other bodies in a number of areas that have an impact on improving animal welfare.

Director of service development Nick Sedgwick said: “Hanover is proud of the fact around half of our estates have pets and over 1,200 of our residents are pet owners.

“We are committed to ensuring wherever possible pets are welcome across each estate. Nobody wants to break up a relationship with someone’s beloved pet, which is why we aim to take positive steps to encourage and ensure responsible pet ownership in all our properties.”

RSPCA senior parliamentary adviser Rachel Williams said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for Hanover to have retained their award for a seventh year in a row.

“The benefits of responsible pet ownership to older people are well known and recognised, so Hanover’s commitment to allowing their residents to keep pets is really important and something we’re thrilled to be able to recognise with a CAWF award yet again.”