Environment

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000

Description

Pets’ Corner was established in Longford Park, Stretford more than 30 years ago. It is a much-loved facility for local children and we are told by many visitors that they have enjoyed bringing both their children and grandchildren down to see the animals over the years. It’s not a “petting zoo” because we want to minimise stress on the animals and create as natural an environment as we possibly can for them. At Pets’ Corner you can see goats, ducks, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs, and when the volunteers are on site they are always happy to answer questions from the public about the animals in our care. Our two pygmy goats (Gandalf & Frodo) are a firm favourite with all the visitors and volunteers!

Until 2013, the site was operated by Trafford Council, who announced that due to funding cuts they would be closing the facility down and rehoming all the animals. We decided that Pets’ Corner was too valuable to lose and that many local children would be disappointed if they were no longer able to visit, and so a Committee was formed with the sole aim of keeping the facility open. We have a core group of around a dozen volunteers who fit their Pets’ Corner shifts around their existing work/family commitments, and we rely entirely on donations from the public to keep our animals healthy & well fed. It’s a constant struggle to ensure that we have the funds in the bank to pay the food & vet bills! We have fundraising events in the park several times a year and have had fantastic support from the people of south Manchester when we’ve needed to Crowdfund for a particular project (e.g. the installation of our CCTV system which keeps all the animals safe). We also produce a calendar every year which we sell to raise money for the winter bedding (we use several bales of hay & straw every week) and we sell the eggs that our hens produce (which are about as “free range” as you can possibly get!)

We have a diverse group of volunteers who live locally, but who originate from all corners of the globe, ranging in age from teenagers to retirees, and some who have special needs. We also support local students who are working towards their Duke of Edinburgh awards and during the summer we partnered with a local scout group to help the Scouts & Beavers earn their Animal Care badges by learning all about the animals that live here.

There are various maintenance jobs we would like to complete if we win one of the Aviva grants, but the most urgent one is to extend the roof on the rabbit & guinea pig enclosures. The existing roof only covers half the floor space, meaning that in the good old Manchester weather both the animals and the volunteers often get soaking wet! Many of our elderly/special needs volunteers are unable to help out when it’s raining heavily because the floor can get quite slippy. If we could finish off the roof, which is estimated to cost around £3,000, I know that the volunteering experience would be more pleasurable for all concerned and of course the animals would be a lot happier.

Longford Park Pets' Corner

What I love most about Pets’ Corner (apart from spending time with the animals of course!) is the diversity of our volunteer pool - a mixture of ages, nationalities, ethnic backgrounds & differently abled people who are drawn together by a genuine love of animals.

Location: Stretford