Volunteering with us
(for more about us see our About Us page)
Volunteers are a very important part of our operation. All of our time is given free but in order to carry out the work we do we also rely on the help of the wonderful people who help us in many ways.
Update 2016- we always are looking for people to help in the areas below but we are also specifically looking to train a small number of "Hoglet Nannies". Please get in touch if you are local to us and think that you might be able to help.
Often these events are on weekends and we need help to man the Willows Hedgehog Rescue marquee. This would mean helping us to set up the marquee and displays and then to assist in meeting, greeting and talking to the public.
The main purpose of our attending events is to inform the public about the plight of our native hedgehog and ways in which they can help to make a difference as well as to give advice.
We also have tombolas and raffles and hedgehog related items for sale at the events as well as collecting donations via static donation boxes in the marquee.
No experience is necessary and no specific knowledge of hedgehogs is required. However an interest in wildlife would be advantageous, an outgoing personality able to deal with a wide range of people and an interest in our work.
At times we can reach capacity in the rescue unit. Some hedgehogs may be now well and off medication and are simply continuing to be with us until they are a suitable weight.
Our Foster Carers help us out by looking after one or more of the healthy hedgehogs at their home, providing suitable accommodation and food until release weight is reached.
Late in the year this can involve 'overwintering' a hedgehog until spring.
You would need a quiet area away from human disturbance and activity with a hutch suitable for the hedgehog. The hutch would need to be cleaned daily and water and food provided daily. The hedgehog would need to be weighed regularly to monitor it's weight ready for release.
Due to work commitments this can at times cause us problems, early morning and evening feeding isn't an issue but there can be weekday day times when we need help.
Our hoglet nannies take over the feeding and toileting during the working day. This would ideally suit someone retired who is able to commit during the day.
We will give full training and support on how to handle, monitor, feed and toilet the hoglets. It is a responsibility to take care of such precious little animals however the rewards are great when you see them grow into healthy adult hedgehogs. The intensive feeding is normally for only a couple of weeks until they are weaned and able to feed less often and finally on their own.
Rescue Unit Assistants
Every day the hedgehogs in our care (up to a hundred in the two main hospital areas), need their pens cleaned, food and water supplying, weighing and their records updated. Many also require medication. This is a time consuming process carried out every day and for those on intensive care twice a day. We are looking for volunteers who can offer a couple of hours at a time on a regular rota basis to assist with the evening care routines. This will involve handling hedgehogs, weighing them and recording their weight on their patient record forms, cleaning out the pens and changing food and water.
This may seem like a fantastic thing to do but the reality is cleaning out soiled bedding and handling injured and ill animals. While having a love for wildlife, you need to be practical and objective as we cannot cuddle these animals, that would cause immense stress for them, they are wild and have to remain so. So while caring you have to be able to carry out the work in an efficient manner with the least stress to the animal.
Other tasks include; cleaning the hospital area, disinfecting work surfaces, restocking food and assisting with the gentle restraint of hedgehogs while medication is given. There is no lone working and at all times you will be assisting either Jayne or myself.
You will be trained in the required tasks and expected to adhere to the rescue units risk assessments and protocols.
Arts & Crafty People
As part of our fund-raising efforts we want to start producing more unique hand made hoggy items. As an example things like hedgehog shaped lavender bags, knitted hedgehog toys, cards. If you have a craft talent and think you may be able to help us then please do get in contact.
Occasional Response Drivers
We normally ask that members of the public bring hedgehogs into us, this keeps our fuel costs down and allows us to spend time in the rescue area. We will if a hedgehog cannot be brought to us respond and pick it up ourselves however sometimes circumstances can delay this.
We would like find someone with their own transport that could in emergencies where we cannot respond quickly respond and collect the hedgehog on our behalf either bringing it to us straight away or in some instances drop it to our vets in Bromsgrove until we can collect it.
The areas we need to respond to are normally within 30-40 minutes driving distance of Bromsgrove.
Release Site Vetting Volunteers
The majority of hedgehogs are released back to where they were found however there are situations where this is not ethical or practical
In these instances we release the hedgehog from a garden release site in an area that in suitable and populated with hedgehogs. These garden are vetted to ensure that the garden and location is suitable under our duty of care for the release of hedgehogs.
You will visit prearranged gardens identifying any possible issues and advising the owners of our requirements and any changes necessary.
Willows Hedgehog Hero's.
We are looking for anyone willing to get their whole street involved in making their gardens hedgehog and wildlife friendly and willing to link their gardens for the benefit of hedgehogs providing for possible hedgehog releases and to benefit hedgehogs already present in the area.
Many thanks to our existing dedicated team of volunteers who help us in many ways.
For further information on any of the above please contact us at: [email protected]