Secret World Wildlife Rescue near Burnham-On-Sea has this week welcomed two of its celebrity patrons to lay the final brick on a brand new £1.2m wildlife treatment centre.
TV personalities Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games – both of whom are well-known for presenting nature shows including BBC’s Springwatch – visited the charity on Wednesday (May 12th) in East Huntspill to lend their support.
The charity has been raising funds for the new treatment centre for a few years and in 2020 raised enough to start construction on the new building which, when completed, will help its staff provide care for the roughly 5,000 wildlife admissions it sees every year.
The new wildlife treatment centre is a big step in the modernisation of this local charity which has been operating under challenging conditions during recent years, with a lot of its facilities housed in temporary portacabins.
Pauline Kidner, founder of Secret World Wildlife Rescue Centre, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It was great to have two of our celebrity patrons along to give their backing to the project.”
“They have both been very supportive for years and they share our excitement on seeing the plans becoming a reality.”
The TV duo laid the final brick on the building and also signed their names on the metal supports of the building to mark the occasion.
Work is well underway on construction of the new building, which is due for completion in October 2021, and Mrs Kidner says they hope to open the facilities later this year.
The charity has raised enough for the main two-storey part of the building, which comprises its reception, assessment room, orphan room and offices, and is now appealing to supporters and local businesses to help with the ‘last push’.
They still require roughly £85,000 to complete the building in its entirety, which also includes a wildlife hospital wing with specialist rooms for the different species it treats.
Secret World Wildlife Rescue patron Michaela Strachan says: “A new wildlife treatment centre will completely transform Secret World and enable the charity to look after more animals in a more efficient, practical way. We completely support this appeal as we know it will make a real difference – please do whatever you can to help.”
The charity explains why there is a need for the new facilities: “From Secret World’s beginning, wildlife casualties and orphans were treated and cared for in Pauline’s farmhouse kitchen. As numbers of admissions grew each year, more and more of her and Derek’s house was converted into animal treatment rooms for deer, badgers, owls, hedgehogs and other species.”
“Over the years, the numbers of animals outgrew the space in the farmhouse, and with ever-increasing standards of wildlife rehabilitation, the charity recognised the need for purpose-built treatment facilities.”
An artist’s impression above shows how the new facilities will look when completed.
“Unable to afford a new building, much of the animal hospital rooms were relocated into portacabins on the charity’s grounds next door, with the hope that funds would be raised to enable these facilities to be purely temporary.”
“Several years later this is unfortunately still the case, and staff and volunteers are working in hospital room and office portacabins (right) that are not really suitable for the high level of service we wish to provide. The facilities are also scattered across the site, which leads to inefficient use of our limited resources.”
“Our staff and volunteers are providing the highest level of care for the wildlife we are treating, but because of the large number of animal admissions in recent years and the supposed ‘temporary’ portacabin accommodation that is deteriorating with each season, the facilities and working environment that exist for the care and rehabilitation of the animals and for the charity’s administration are simply no longer appropriate.”
“The local planners have also stated that they will not renew the planning permission for the portacabins beyond 2021. Improving our facilities for the sake of our animals and people has been a priority for several years. But the deadline to move out of the portacabins makes the project much more urgent. Secret World Wildlife Rescue must now commit to its future and build the Wildlife Treatment Centre that has been so long awaited.”
For more on the appeal, see https://www.secretworld.org/treatmentcentre or ring 01278 768707.