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Actresses and TV presenter launch new identity for charity Canine Partners for Independence

Actresses Helena Bonham-Carter and Jenny Seagrove and TV presenter Shauna Lowry were at the British Airways London Eye on Wednesday 2 October 2002 to launch a brand new logo and name for charity, Canine Partners for Independence.

Canine Partners for Independence (also known as CPI) is a registered charity based near Petersfield in Hampshire which receives no government funding and depends totally on public donations. It aims to transform the lives of people with disabilities ("Partners") by providing them with highly trained assistance dogs ("Canine Partners") which enable them to live more independently.

From 1 October, the new name of the charity became "Canine Partners" and their strapline changed to "Opening Doors to Independence". Combined with an updated logo, the new identity as a whole describes how a Canine Partner enables people with disabilities to move forward in their lives, by helping them to develop self-confidence, motivation and self-esteem. A re-designed website was also launched on 1 October - www.caninepartners.co.uk.

The new identity is the second phase of a programme of expansion activities, which began in May this year when TV chat show host and comedian, Graham Norton launched the "Home of Our Own" appeal. This major appeal aims to raise £1.5 million by 2003 to develop a modern training centre where the Charity will be able to increase the number of partnerships created each year.

"This year, Canine Partners has embarked on a major programme of development and growth," explains recently appointed Chief Executive, Terry Knott. "We are adopting this new identity to demonstrate our commitment to our progression and communicate the pioneering characteristics of the Charity.

The tremendous efforts to date of all our staff, Partners, volunteers and supporters have already played a crucial role in increasing awareness of our work. However, if we are to grow as an organisation and become known further afield, we need to present Canine Partners in a way which is instantly understood by the public, is memorable and helps to differentiate us from other organisations carrying out similar work."

Shauna Lowry adds "Canine Partners is an amazing charity which is committed to the happiness and welfare of the dogs they train. These dogs can carry out around one hundred tasks that most of us take for granted, like opening doors and taking things off the shelf at the supermarket. The new identity instantly conveys how, through the talents of their extraordinary dogs, Canine Partners transforms the lives of people with disabilities, opening doors to new levels of independence."

Twenty four year-old Sarah Ashcroft from Kent was one of the Partners attending the launch with her dog, Hazel. Sarah has cerebral palsy and when she first applied for a Canine Partner, most of her days were spent alone at home. She could not even make a trip to the local shops on her own using her wheelchair because she experienced a great deal of pain when she tried to pick up and carry objects unaided.

Since being partnered with Golden Retriever, Hazel, Sarah's hopes and wishes to live more independently have become a reality. She has a job and her life has been transformed. She says "One of my main aims was that in the future I would be able to consider living alone with the minimum of support. Hazel has enabled me to achieve that goal. With her assistance, I can go out on my own whenever I want, meet new friends and do my own shopping. She is my guardian, protector and friend."