Raising awareness of PSS and new Find a Vet service at first BBC Countryfile Live event
10 August 2016
We attended the first BBC Countryfile Live event at Blenheim Palace from 4-7 August, and spent a rewarding time talking to animal owners and other show-goers about its new Find a Vet search tool and RCVS-accredited practices, and offering careers advice for prospective veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.
We staffed our stand, which was designed to look like a veterinary practice complete with waiting room, consulting room, prep room, operating theatre and RCVS Accredited Practice logos, for the whole four days of the event.
The team handed out around 1,500 ‘Find a Vet’ canvas bags containing Find a Vet and Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) leaflets and merchandise, and persuaded over 200 people to take part in special ‘Find a Vet’ and PSS-themed games and competitions.
This included having to find a vet or find a vet nurse around the show ground, who were willing volunteers from RCVS Council and VN Council, including RCVS President Chris Tufnell and VN Council Chair Liz Cox, along with David Catlow, Neil Smith (and his dog, Fire), Lucy Bellwood and Amber Richards.
There was also a continual stream of children eager to pretend to be vets and vet nurses for the day and have a go at the on-stand ‘animal examination’ and ‘animal surgery’ activities.
All this gave rise to plenty of photo opportunities, which parents and competition entrants were encouraged to share on social media, to help spread the word about the College’s activities (see below for examples!).
“This was the first time the RCVS had been to such a large-scale and high-profile public event, and it provided a superb opportunity to explain to animal owners who we are and how we can help them,” says Ian Holloway, RCVS Head of Communications.
“We had a great deal of interest in our new Find a Vet service, and people also seemed reassured that there was a scheme in place to accredit veterinary practices around the country.
"Having attended both the London Pet Show and BBC Countryfile Live this year, we now plan to increase the number of animal owner events we attend next year, to further raise public awareness of the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme and our Find a Vet service.”