The Interact Group at Horizon Community College is a small fundraising team which is spearheaded by Stainborough Rotary Club president Barbara Lee.
The group organises fundraising events for local charities and recently ran a stall in Locke Park on Easter Sunday which raised over £200. The group were at a loss as to which cause they should donate their funds when Barbara heard about robotic cats and how they are used.
The cats are hyper-realistic robots that can miaow, purr and even roll over and are used to help people with dementia and help to alleviate loneliness in old people. The cats are a low-maintenance companion for people that would not necessarily be able to manage the demands of a pet on their own.
“I went to a district meeting and Sheila Wainwright was giving a talk,” said Barbara.
“Sheila first introduced the Rotary clubs to these cats and how her own husband, who had dementia, was comforted by their kitten while he was still alive. After doing more research Sheila happened upon the robotic cats and read how they can help dementia sufferers.
“This caused an idea to form and I asked the Interact Group if they would like to purchase some robotic cats with the money they raised at Easter.”
The group had enough money to fund two robotic cats which were donated to Barnsley Independent Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support (BIADS) on Dean Street, Barnsley.
“It was amazing seeing their faces light up when they saw the cats,” said Barbara.
“One man whose memory was going said he was scared of cats but was petting the robotic cat’s head and when it rolled over he was stroking its tummy. It was really lovely to see.
“I think it was also lovely for the kids to see how their money is going towards something good.
“We don’t have an age limit with where money raised by Interact can go but we’ve only donated to charities for younger people so far and I think it was a nice change for them to help older people.”