Animal sanctuary launches sponsorship scheme to survive pandemic
A South Hams animal sanctuary is urgently appealing for help to care for an increasing number of elderly and infirm animals.
Woodside Animal Welfare Trust at Elfordleigh is one of the few charities in the South West to provide a forever home to animals with age- or health-related issues.
But at a time when funding has plummeted during the Covid-19 outbreak, the cost of caring for long-term residents has continued to climb.
Cats, dogs, pigs and ponies are among the 50-plus animals living out their days at the Sanctuary in dedicated units filled with creature comforts.
Cats, dogs, pigs and ponies are among the 50-plus animals living out their days at the Sanctuary in dedicated units filled with creature comforts
Woodside founder Carole Bowles MBE said the charity was committed to giving these animals a loving and comfortable home.
“We have seen a rise in the number of elderly cats joining us and others needing to join our resident areas for medical reasons.
“In a lot of cases, the owner will have passed away, or the owner might have moved to somewhere that doesn’t allow pets.
“Resident cats can roam any other part of the sanctuary that takes their fancy. Our dogs get to walk in the forest and go up onto our fields to run around.
“We have a no-kill policy and have been committed to that for a long time. Only if an animal is suffering or is considered dangerous will this be considered.”
Carole said the Covid outbreak had encouraged people to think about what would happen to their pets should they not be around for them.
the Covid outbreak has encouraged people to think about what would happen to their pets should they not be around for them
“If someone is concerned and they register with us, we take their details and supply them with a card. On this card it states that if they are unable to look after their animal, to contact Woodside.”
Among the residents is tabby cat Tiger, who spent years being fed by workers at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth before being rehomed by one of them.
When his owner passed away, Tiger moved to Woodside, where he is happily living out his twilight years in the resident cat units, which are home to more than 20 cats.
As demand for these units has increased, the charity’s funding has plummeted, with the sudden closure of its charity shops in March costing the sanctuary £30,000 a month.
the sudden closure of its charity shops in March cost the sanctuary £30,000 a month
While some stores have now reopened under restrictions, the charity continues to be hit by a fall in fundraising, as events are cancelled.
Carole said: “We are working hard to make up the shortfall. One of the most popular ways is to choose one of the pets at the Sanctuary and sponsor them.”
We are working hard to make up the shortfall. One of the most popular ways is to choose one of the pets at the Sanctuary and sponsor them
Since March, around £2,500 has been raised by a lockdown sponsorship programme. Its success has led to a permanent scheme being launched.
PAWS (Pals At Woodside Sanctuary), enables supporters to choose an animal on the Woodside website to sponsor.
For £10, the sponsor will receive a photo and biography of their chosen animal by email, ensuring all of the money goes directly to helping the animal in the short term.
PAWS will run alongside Woodside’s existing sponsorship programmes, which provide long-term support to animals at the Sanctuary.
This includes a group sponsorship scheme, enabling supporters to sponsor the ‘residents’ or one of the charity’s many other animal groups, including the Hill Billies (goats), The Clucky Crows (chickens), Pigs Paradise, Horsey Haven and the Ba Ba Bunch. This costs £60 a year.
Alternatively, there is a kennel, cat pod or rabbit sponsorship programme. Run online, supporters can sponsor an individual animal for £50 a year.
Deputy manager Dawn Cornish said: “PAWS will not replace the long term support from our other schemes. These sponsorship schemes provide ongoing support for the charity’s work and are a vital part of our funding, particularly at the moment.”
PAWS will not replace the long term support from our other schemes....but [are] a vital part of our funding, particularly at the moment
To support the PAWS scheme, visit the charity’s website to choose an animal before calling the Sanctuary on 01752 347503.