Comedian Ricky Gervais, TV chef Ainsley Harriott and newsreader Emily Maitlis support causes this week

Emily Maitlis
Emily Maitlis

Actor and comedian Ricky Gervais is backing veterinary charity PDSA's Your Right Pet initiative, encouraging people to choose pets that suit their lifestyles.

The charity has created a section on its website that takes prospective pet owners through a series of questions to help them consider what sort of time they can devote to keeping an animal and whether they can provide a suitable environment for it, exercise it and afford to keep it. "I would love a dog, but I'm in the US a lot so it wouldn't be fair," said Gervais. "We have a cat called Ollie, who is more like a lodger - it lives with us, but does its own thing. Its own thing, by the way, is sleeping all day then eating. It also pays no rent."

TV chef Ainsley Harriott is supporting Samaritans' Stress Down Day on 6 February. The campaign encourages office staff to wear slippers to work in a bid to minimise stress. In return, they make donations to the charity.

BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis is backing the latest phase of Action for Children's As Long As It Takes campaign.

The campaign has been set up to highlight the importance of the emotional and physical development of children between the ages of six and 13 - especially those from vulnerable families. It is calling for all children to have at least one adult who can be there to support them for as long as it takes.

"The teenage years - even for privileged, well-loved and cherished kids - are meant to be pretty tough," said Maitlis. "I cannot imagine how much harder they are for those who come from a disrupted background, who have not had support every step of the way and do not always know what the world expects from them and how to prepare themselves for it.

"It's vital that all children, especially those between pre-school and adolescence, get the love, support and encouragement they need to help them through the challenges of growing up."

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