Volunteers needed to support hedgehog charity

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 January 2018

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.

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A Somerset animal rescue charity has been saved from the chopping block by generous community donations, but now urgently needs volunteers to join its ranks.

Prickles Hedgehog Rescue

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Prickles Hedgehog Rescue, in Cheddar, faced the challenge raising more than £20,000 just two months to safeguard its future at the end of last year.

The charity, which cares for hedgehogs 365 days a year, appealed for public crowdfunding support after it learned it would not receive any financial backing from trusts this year.

Founder Jules Bishop revealed Prickles only had sufficient cash to survive to February, as it requires more than £5,000 a month to operate.

But the appeal took off and people donated in their hundreds to ensure one of the UK’s largest hedgehog charities would continue to run.

Jules said: “We had an overwhelming response with more than £19,000 donated to the charity.

“We are in a stronger position and the support from the public and volunteers has been amazing but we have lost staff and Prickles is now run completely by volunteers.”

The charity employed two qualified care managers and one administrator, who all worked part-time, but lost them when it could not afford to pay the salaries.

Jules is calling on people to continue their generosity and continue to donate to help them survive the rest of the year.

She is also looking for at least another 15 volunteers to help ensure the critters at Prickles receive the help and attention they need.

Volunteers would be involved in feeding and watering the hogs as well as cleaning out cages and checking their health.

Jules said it would be ‘devastating’ for the charity to close as it is one of the only ones in the area.

She added: “The impact for the hedgehogs would be catastrophic, as their numbers are already declining.”

In the 1950s there were 30 million hedgehogs in the UK; now there are around one million.

The charity cares for more than 650 hedgehogs a year and is currently looking after 180 which were injured, unwell, or did not weigh enough to hibernate.

To find out more about volunteering at Prickles or to donate, visit www.prickleshedgehogrescue.org.uk

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