Many conservation and animal welfare organisations have at their heart an individual (or small group of individuals) who have often toiled for years to get established, before going on to do remarkable and important work. Herts Hogline was set up by Lynne Garner who was dedicated twenty years of her life to caring for hedgehogs – a much loved species that has declined across the UK by as much as 25% in the last ten years. Lynne has written a guest post explaining how we can all help organsation’s like hers…
If we all helped, just a little!
I run a hedgehog rescue centre from my back garden and have done so for the last twenty years. For the first ten years I worked on my own but today Herts Hogline (www.hertshogline.com) consists of myself, fifteen carers, two full time fosterers plus a small number of supporters. We are not the only small voluntary animal rescue centre. There are hundreds dotted all over the country often hidden in back bedrooms, garages or converted sheds. They all need support and not just in the form of a cash donation. So why not get proactive and join this hidden army.
Not sure how to help? Here are a few suggestions, which I hope will inspire you to actively support a local rescue centre.
Why not donate items? These items obviously are specific to the charity or organisation you wish to help. Animal charities are often looking for towels, unwanted bowls etc. Or have you recently been unfortunate enough to lose a beloved pet? Don’t let their food go to waste, donate it. If your pet was a rabbit then hutches can house a variety of animals, most of our hutches have been kindly donated.
How many of you throw away stamps and printer cartridges? If saved rather than binned these can raise money. Over the last ten years by collecting and selling printer cartridges we’ve raised enough money to cover the cost of are for 25 hedgehogs. We’ve also recently found a dealer who will take foreign and old UK currencies, so have started to collect these as well.
We all have skills of some kind. If you can write many smaller organisations need people to write publicity literature or educational literature. Can you saw a piece of wood; many charities need items made. For example one of our supporters crafted half a dozen hand-made wooden toys. The sale of just one of these toys covered the care of two hedgehogs. Another is a ceramicist and she donates hand-made key rings, which we sell to raise funds. Are you a web design expert? Small organisations can always benefit from an on-line presence. Are you good with a camera? Images of animals rescued are always helpful as they can be used in literature and on websites. We’ve had photographs featuring one of our hoglets turned into greetings cards.
Why not donate time and do those little jobs that always need doing. For animal charities many of them need dog walkers, hutch cleaners, someone to answer the phone. Many need someone to shake a collection tin in the street. We have a volunteer who has a stall at the local village Christmas fair each November. She sells second hand items and often raises enough money to cover the care costs for three to four hedgehogs.
Lastly word of mouth is the best advertisement any charity or non-profit organisation could wish for. Simply talk to people about your chosen good cause, the rewards reaped can sometimes be immeasurable. A great example of this was in the summer of 2004 when a lady walking her dog bumped into a girl who had found a hoglet. Luckily this lady had heard one of my presentations, so she passed on our details. By this simple action that hoglet and its four siblings (found a couple of hours later) all survived and were released that autumn. I also rely on word of mouth to advertise the presentations I give to local groups. These presentations give me a chance to raise much needed funds and just as importantly awareness.
So go on give it a go you never know where it may lead!
If you’d like to discover more about us then:
Follow us on Twitter: @HertsHogline
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Herts-Hogline/141878432529421
Follow our blog: The Hedgehog Shed
We are a non-funded voluntary organisation who have been caring for local hedgehogs since 1990
Our aims are to:
- care for sick and injured hedgehogs returning them to the wild whenever possible
help conserve the local hedgehog population
help educate the public in how best to help hedgehogs
Our site will hopefully help you find out what to do if you’ve found a hedgehog in need of assistance or just want to find out more about hedgehogs. If you are looking for carers in your area then please visit our links page for sites that have lists of carers.
PLEASE NOTE: To stay within the law we can ONLY pick up a hedgehog from a vet, once they have made a diagnosis.