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With nominations still open for the Ceva Animal Welfare Awards, we look back at previous winners of the Charity Team of the Year — an award Your Dog and Your Cat magazines will again be sponsoring this year.

The prestigious Ceva Animal Welfare Awards 2017 are open for nominations. If you know an individual or an organisation that goes the extra mile to help animals, you can put them forward for an award. Check out the various categories and how to nominate by clicking here.

In anticipation of another brilliant awards, we look back of some of the incredible stories of the winners of the Charity Team of the Year award, which is sponsored by Your Dog and Your Cat magazines.

Where there's life...there's Hope!

The aptly-named Hope Rescue landed the 2014 charity team award for its work rescuing stray and abandoned dogs. Primarily a coordinating rescue, Hope moves dogs from local authority pounds, who would otherwise be put to sleep, or those in emergency situations, and finds them space in reputable rescue centres such as Dogs Trust, Blue Cross and RSPCA. Working mainly in pounds in South Wales and south-west England, the charity has a network of foster carers across the country.

The founder of Hope Rescue, Vanessa Waddon, commented at the time of the charity's award win: “I learned a lot about the stray dog problem, and then I saw a gap for someone to coordinate all these rescues and find spaces for dogs who end up in dog pounds."

The charity only had one paid member of staff and around 100 volunteers. The charity would move around 10 dogs a week but sometimes up to around 25. The next target after the award win was to build a premises of its own.

Since winning Charity Team of the Year, the charity has continued to do great work and in December revealed that it had secured all the funding it needs to get a rescue centre of its own!

Saving street dogs

Photo: The Borneo team battle in all conditions to help dogs.

A holiday trip to Borneo in 2009 changed the life of Nicky Stevens and the street dogs on the island. The dogs lead terrible lives, facing a daily struggle just to survive.

“I saw the plight of the stray dogs. When I came home, I wanted to see which charities were doing something about it, so I could support them,” said Nicky. “But I discovered that there was only a small group of women who fed the dogs from time to time. There needed to be a charity.”

Nicky set about doing exactly that. She set up International Aid for the Protection and Welfare of Animals (IAPWA) and worked with the local governments in Borneo to develop humane ways to care for street dogs — a system based on treat, neuter, return (TNR), where injured dogs are given emergency care, dogs are neutered to control the population, and those that can't cope on the streets are rehomed.

In July 2014, the charity had a further breakthrough, as it was awarded the management of a dog pound in the city Kota Kinabalu. The centre was renovated and a team put in place. In less than 12 months, the centre had rehomed 252 dogs and neutered 1,038 dogs.

The charity won the Team of the Year Award at the Ceva Awards in 2015, and the staff in Borneo stayed up to hear the result — it even made the news in Taiwan.

Changing attitudes in Asia

Last's year's Charity Team of the Year went to ACTAsia <hyperlink:>, a charity which runs humane education programmes in Asia, aimed at teaching citizens about compassion and empathy towards animals, humans, and the environment.

Its 'Caring for Life' programme helped reached 36,000 students in 100 schools in Asia; it also worked with vets to raise standards of veterinary care.

The charity celebrated its 10th anniversary last October in a reception at the House of Commons. Executive Director of ACTAsia, Pei-Feng Sui, commented: “It has not been an easy 10 years, but all the positive project outcomes motivate myself and our staff to carry on with our work, despite the many challenges we are still facing.”