Clough Farm Animal Sanctuary, based in Marple near Stockport in Cheshire, has a dedicated team of volunteers caring for all types of animals in need of a home. These range from ponies, sheep, chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, pigs and dogs, many of which have been neglected, abandoned or abused by previous owners. Each resident has an interesting story, ranging from Crunchie, the lame pony who struggles with asthma and has to have paper shred for his bedding to the Kune-Kune pigs which were so obese they could barely move.
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Clough Farm Animal Sanctuary, based in Marple near Stockport in Cheshire, has a dedicated team of volunteers caring for all types of animals in need of a home. These range from ponies, sheep, chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, pigs and dogs, many of which have been neglected, abandoned or abused by previous owners. Each resident has an interesting story, ranging from Crunchie, the lame pony who struggles with asthma and has to have paper shred for his bedding to the Kune-Kune pigs which were so obese they could barely move.As well as helping countless animals to recuperate, Clough Farm has proved to be an essential outlet for various community groups that visit the site to experience its work.
A number of the animals have disabilities, such as Buster the lamb, who was born with an inoperable condition in his leg. The bones in his front limb were permanently fused at a right angle, making it impossible to use the leg. Amputation was not an option, as sheep graze by kneeling on their front limbs, so vets recommended euthanasia. However Jayne and Ronnie recognised the potential for Buster to live a long and happy life, so they brought him back to the farm and looked into purchasing a harness that would support his leg. After months of searching and a widespread fundraising appeal, the sanctuary invested in a wheelchair that gives Buster the freedom to roam the farm while resting his front leg and allowing it to grow in strength.
Stories such as this resonate particularly well with local community groups where members themselves have disabilities and hurdles that they overcome in their own lives. It is for this reason that many organisations have come to rely on Clough Farm as somewhere that can help people just as much as it aids its own residents. Animals never ask awkward questions, which is why so many people have been able to connect with Clough Farm’s inhabitants as a way of building their own social skills.
Examples of those that have visited the farm in the past include: Stockport Youth Offending Service, The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, the Prince's Trust, Bridge College, Windlehurst School, Choices Homes for Children, the Pendlebury Centre, Arbour Court Residential Home, the Together Trust and Brownies and Rainbows' Group. From the elderly to the young; disabled people to ex-addicts, there is not one area of society that goes untouched by Clough Farm’s community volunteering projects. And many of them build lasting connections with the site, including youth offenders who continue to volunteer at the farm even after passing their rehabilitation period.
Clough Farm receives no financial contributions from any outside bodies and relies solely on donations from members of the public, raised from events such as car boot sales, bag packing, clothes sales and coffee mornings. Unlike many charities which charge a fee for community groups visiting the site, Clough Farm allows all bodies to attend completely free of charge. They provide all the necessary equipment and training for groups to spend as much time as they want at the farm and never ask for donations to be made. This means the charity pays out of its own pocket in order to help others, as it holds public liability insurance and must provide portable facilities for volunteers to use.
As such a small charity, Clough Farm recognises the importance of raising its profile so it can continue to provide this essential service to animals and community groups. It is currently in talks with various agents in a bid to attract a celebrity patron, and a number of local celebrities are currently top of the charity’s wish list and it will continue with its aim to gain such endorsement over the coming months.
Clough Farm is constantly battling to make ends meet and often makes it through to the next month with a bare minimum to spare. The difference that funds raised through being a recipient of the Animal Friends competition could make is indescribable – and would enable it to continue helping regional and national community groups. Accounts from last year reveal that literally a few pounds came in by way of donations over the outgoing costs. Any money raised that is left over from food, hay, equipment and other essentials is placed in an emergency fund to account for the months when the charity fails to break even and must be able to pay vets in the event of a crisis.
Winning this Competition would help Clough Farm Animal Sanctuary launch its most ambitious project yet – investing in a trailer to transport some of the animals. This would enable the body to bring its unique animal therapy to schools, community groups and charities that are unable to reach the farm. In essence, any amount – large or small - that could be raised could enable Clough Farm’s dedicated volunteers to continue helping animals and people alike for years to come and would be very gratefully received.
We are an accredited RSPCA emergency rescue centre, and quite often receive a telephone call to say they are on their way over and to get the isolation unit ready – bringing anything to us from a 6 month old piglet (Salt) found abandoned in a local park and being chased by a gang of dogs, to a bunch of hens who’s owner had gone away leaving them without food or water. We re-home wherever possible, however, in some instances irreparable damage may have been done to an animal brought into our care, both physically and mentally, and these poor souls will forever stay in our care.
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