The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Dick Vet students support homeless people in Edinburgh

Veterinary students collect bags filled with clothes and other items to distribute to homeless people in Edinburgh.

A group of students stands in front of a Christmas tree holding donation bags

The organisers of the Dick Vet Winter Bag Appeal are overjoyed by the record-breaking number of donations they have received this year. 

Each year around the festive period, staff and students based at the vet school and the wider Easter Bush campus are invited to fill bags to help the homeless in Edinburgh.

The response to this year’s appeal has been phenomenal and over 125 bags containing warm clothes and basic necessities like toiletries and blankets have been donated to date. 

An annual tradition

The original Christmas Bag Appeal was started six years ago by former Dick Vet student Dr Jaime-Leigh Thompson. It is now run by a small group of veterinary student volunteers.

The donated bags are collected by the Appeal volunteers, who work with Edinburgh based charities Bethany Christian Trust, Steps to Hope SCIO and CrossReach Cunningham House to distribute the bags to the homeless and vulnerably housed people of Edinburgh. 

The original appeal was focused around Christmas but in recent years it has been extended into the New Year, to ensure that those living and sleeping on the streets of Edinburgh in the coldest months of the year continue to get support.

Zoe Powell-Davies, a fifth year veterinary student at the Dick Vet, is one of the Appeal volunteers. She commented: “Being exposed to how cold Edinburgh is in the winter, I couldn’t imagine how I could cope without food, shelter and warm clothing.

“The weather can be bitter and ruthless to those on the streets and, having helped distribute bags in previous years, I have seen first-hand how much these donations are appreciated by those who receive them.”

Helping pets

As many homeless people have canine companions, the Dick Vet Winter Bag Appeal also accept any dog-related donations including dog food, treats, blankets, toys, coats and reflective collars. These items are distributed by All4Paws, a student run veterinary clinic which provides free care for pets of homeless people. 

Volunteer opportunities

The Royal Dick Winter Bag Appeal group warmly welcome anyone who wants to join them. You can contact them through their Facebook page.

Related Links

Winter Bag Appeal Facebook Page

All4Paws

Bethany Christian Trust

Steps to Hope SCIO

CrossReach Cunningham House

About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies 

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than eight hundred staff and almost fourteen hundred students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos. 

The School comprises: 

The Roslin Institute 

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security 

The Roslin Innovation Centre 

The Hospital for Small Animals 

Equine Veterinary Services 

Farm Animal Services 

Easter Bush Pathology 

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education 

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.