One of UK's biggest hedgehog rescue centres at risk of closure

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 November 2017

A hedgehog.

A hedgehog.

Archant

A Somerset animal charity is facing the 'devastating' prospect that it may be forced to close its doors in the new year if it cannot secure more funding.

Prickles Hedgehog Rescue, in Cheddar, has revealed it only has sufficient cash to survive until February after hitting financial difficulties.

Charity founder Jules Bishop said: “Animal charities run on donations from members of the public and from us applying to trust funds, and this has always been a regular income for us.

“However a lot of the trust funds have changed their criteria to give to charities every other year.

“Prickles needs £5,000 a month to cover our vet bills, food, staffing, rent and utilities.”

A hedgehog.A hedgehog.

Prickles has thrived in the past year, securing funding for an expansion enabling it to double its intake.

This rise in the number of hogs it cares for each year has resulted in Prickles becoming one of the biggest hedgehog rescue charities in the UK.

Jules said: “We have expanded to accommodate the animals but this has not necessarily had an impact on our monthly outgoings.

“We are at our most busiest and we are the only rescue centre still taking in hedgehogs – everyone else is full.

A hedgehog.A hedgehog.

“The number of admissions a day has risen and we had 13 alone on Saturday, which means staff salaries have increased and this is taking its toll on the budget.”

The charity is mainly run by volunteers but it employs two qualified care managers and one administrator, all part-time, and two people running a shop in Union Street, which also raises money for the charity.

Jules, who founded Prickles in 2007, said it needed a guaranteed £5,000 a month to ‘break even’.

She added: “It would be devastating for all involved in Prickles and the impact for the hedgehogs would be catastrophic as they are already in trouble in terms of the decline in their numbers.

Elise Warner-Deards, aged15, Miranda Pearce, aged 42, Jules Bishop, aged 51, TanyaTakle, aged 25, at Prickles Hedgehog Rescue.Elise Warner-Deards, aged15, Miranda Pearce, aged 42, Jules Bishop, aged 51, TanyaTakle, aged 25, at Prickles Hedgehog Rescue.

“There would simply be no rescue centre for them to go to.”

In the 1950s there were an estimated 30 million hedgehogs in the UK; however as the human population grew in size, habitats changed and farming methods evolved, there has been a decline – and there are now less than 1.4 million left.

To help Prickles, visit the charity’s crowd-funding page.

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