The sanctuary was founded by Alexandra Bastedo over thirty years ago and she led the Trustees until her death in January 2014. Her first rescue was a donkey and since then the sanctuary has become home to unwanted donkeys, ponies, horses, sheep, goats, cats, pigs and birds.
Animals come to us for a variety of reasons; some have been ill treated but in many cases they are the victims of a change of circumstance such as a relationship break up, death of an owner or lack of money. In some instances, where animals are very old, need permanent special diets, medication or have personality disorders they are guaranteed care and protection at the sanctuary for the rest of their lives, cared for by our wonderful team of volunteers. Wherever possible we do try to home the animals and all prospective owners are home checked and follow up calls are made to ensure the animal is happy.
Our animals are never needlessly put down due to old age or ill health and we do not turn away any distressed animal if a home can be found at the sanctuary. We are often able to find a new home without them needing to come to us by using our network of animal charity contacts.
We are constantly contacted about taking in an ever increasing number of cats. When they come to us they are cared for as if they were our own. They all receive a health check by Arun Vet Group and have regular grooming sessions by our volunteers.
We often visit schools, nursing homes and other organisations to talk about animal welfare and the work at the sanctuary. We also provide practical tuition and hands-on experience for students undertaking animal care courses and those taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. We are happy to accept visits from schools and other groups to teach children and young adults about the importance of properly caring for animals.
To look after so many animals the sanctuary has the support of four trustees – Dominic Citrone, Sue Heffer, Maggie Southwell and Cheryl Tofield-Cook, as well as the un-stinting help of over 60 volunteers of all ages. The volunteers cover the care of the animals every day of every week in all weathers and without them the sanctuary could not operate.
The sanctuary has no secure funding and is entirely reliant on donations from the public to enable the care of the animals. We hold several fundraising events throughout the year such as coffee mornings, quiz nights, sponsored challenges and larger events such as our Open day in the summer giving people a chance to come and meet the animals.
If you would like to help us please visit our Ways to help pages. Thank you.