VOLUNTEERS have raised more than £1,000 to help people keep their pets during challenging times – with an innovative art project.

Organisers of the art project, Badly Drawn Pets, have raised the money in support of Keep Your Pets (KYP).

Founded in 2012, York-based KYP is a collaboration between York RSPCA and Age UK.

It aims to help older and vulnerable people keep their animal companions, by looking after pets when their owners are taken ill or have a hospital stay.

Age UK York said: "We often find that care of their animals is a particular worry for older people when they are unwell. But we also know how vitally important the animals are in speeding recovery and promoting wellbeing in the long term.

"We see this service as a natural extension of our work and are delighted to be collaborating with the RSPCA."

Pet owners are invited to donate £10 to KYP and email a photograph of their pet and in return they will receive a personal pet portrait created by one of the volunteer 'artists', who range in their abilities.

“The only promise we can make about the portraits is that they are unique,” said Tina, one of the organisers. "And it’s not just for cats and dogs, our team can do bad drawings of all kinds of pets. If you don’t have a pet of your own you can always treat a friend.”

The idea came from a rescue centre in America, which had shared some bad but funny pet paintings they did to raise money in 2019. They were so inundated with orders that they could not keep up.

For more information, visit www.keepyourpet.co.uk.