As of winter 2023/2024 we are phasing out our local volunteer hedgehog fosterer roles. A massive thank you to everyone who has been so kind over the past 7 years dedicating their time to helping the local hedgehogs, and us, through volunteering in these roles.
Early on when I started rescuing local hedgehogs it very quickly became overwhelming for me to rehabilitate the injured and sick hedgehogs as I was on my own at the sanctuary. Mainly due to the rapid increase in the number of hedgehogs I received from rescues. I also ran out of space with limited rehabilitation hutches available and also struggled to pay for all the food they consumed. But I did not want to turn away those hedgehogs that needed the help.
Some of these hedgehogs were actually totally healthy but just underweight for the time of the year (winter) but would have died due to their small size (less than 300g ish in weight) during hibernation. Others were also totally healthy but were orphaned baby hoglets needing constant feeding. So, I asked for help with those two types of rescued hedgehogs and very kind volunteers stepped up to become Hedgehog Foster Carers. These volunteers would help care for the hedgehogs with feeding, cleaning, weighing, and providing a warm temporary home while they were in rehabilitation. This could be up to 2-3 months until the hedgehogs were in a position to be released back in to the wild. At the peak we had nearly 50 Hedgehog Fosteres, each helping with one or two hedgehogs that had been rescued.
I setup a page on our website (https://www.hornbeamwood.org.uk/hedgehog-fosterer) which is stil active, but I will soon remove this page, where volunteers could sign up to help in these roles.
Over the years I was able to convert old buildings (initially with recycled wood and materials I found in skips and by asking local builders) and then later, as the Charity started to receive extreamly kind donations from people, build new facilities at the sanctuary. Each year allowing me to increase the number of total hedgehogs we could rescue and have in rehabilitation at any one time (peaking at about 80 hedgehogs). Along the way, more and more people joined helping me and spending their free time volunteering.
We now have a few core volunteers that very kindly help me nearly every day, and others who often help on a weekly basis either directly helping the hedgehogs in rehabilitation or with repairing, updating, and building new facilities at the sanctuary. As of the start of this winter 2023 I am hoping we will also have our new Overwintering Hotel complete and ready for this years overwinter hedgehogs with a maximum capacity of about 80 hedgehogs specifically for the winter time of the year.
So, I think I'm finally in a position were we can confidently give our full attention and time for up to 80 hedgehogs at any one time at the sanctuary and phase out the overwinter volunteers who made it all possible to help so many hedgehogs in the past. We will of course still need more volunteers and I'm hoping some of the previous overwinter hedgehog foster carers will also be able to come over to the sanctuary and help.
Thank you to eveyone who has helping me in these roles over the years and for all you generous support that has made this all possible.
Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary (http://www.hwhs.org.uk)
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