Christmas Charity Focus: National Animal Welfare Trust

Here at Whistlefish we’re starting to feel festive with the launch of our Christmas cards and are excited to once again be supporting some very worthy causes with the donations from the sales of these wonderful festive greetings.

This year we’re supporting four different charities, one of which is the National Animal Welfare Trust centre at Hayle in Cornwall. Part of a national charity with five other locations across the south of England, they take in animals that are in need of a new home and matches them with their new owners who are looking for a companion.

Let’s find out more about National Animal Welfare Trust, the important work they do and how you can support them…

History of the National Animal Welfare Trust

The beginnings of the charity’s work can be traced back to 1958, when the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection established BUAV Dog Rescue, with their work focusing on stopping dogs and puppies being bought at markets to be used in laboratories for vivisection.

By 1965 the charity’s work had widened to saving a greater selection of animals from vivisection, so they became BUAV Animal Aid and in 1971 they developed into a separate charity – Animal Welfare Trust. Over the next 10 years the charity continued to carry out its rescue and rehoming work with volunteers looking after the animals and by renting space in commercial boarding kennels.

In 1981 NAWT purchased and opened its first rescue and rehoming centre in Walford and extended this in 1986 across adjoining fields, enabling them to improve facilities for large animals and open more exercise paddocks.

Over the next 20 years, the charity has grown across the South of England, opening centres in Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Cornwall. 

Rescue kitten at the Cornwall Centre

The Cornwall Centre

We’re proud to be supporting the Cornish centre with this year’s Christmas card campaign. The centre in Cornwall was born out of the inspiring work of Molly Wyatt who worked hard to set up a rehoming centre in the county. Shortly before her death she asked if the charity would be willing to continue her work and in 1997 NAWT took over the running of the centre in Hayle.

NAWT has a personal connection to Whistlefish with our company founder Lyn rescuing her own dog, Rocky, from the centre in Hayle. We were lucky to be invited along to the centre by their team. It was great to spend some time with Kat, their Fundraising and Supporter Relations Officer, meet some of their gorgeous residents and find out more about the important work that they do. Let’s hear more from Kat about the Cornwall centre…

We’re excited to be supporting you this year, how will these donations help the centre?

We are so excited that you have chosen to support the Cornwall Centre this year. We really appreciate your support and this opportunity. As with all charities, this year has been extremely challenging. As a self-funded charity we are entirely funded by donations from our generous supporters and our own fundraising activities. The events of this year resulted in many of our fundraising initiatives being put on hold or cancelled entirely. The donations from Whistlefish and your customers will go directly to helping the homeless and abandoned animals of Cornwall. We will use the funds to pay for their food, vet treatment and care. Every penny we receive makes a difference to the lives of the animals in our care and your kind donation will go a long way to helping us to continue to help the animals in need.

A rescue puppy at the Cornwall Centre

How many animals are you currently rescuing a week?

We work at full capacity and try to help every animal that comes our way. We have the capacity to provide shelter and care for up to 40 cats and 24 dogs. Our goal is to find a long term, loving home for every animal that comes through our door, regardless of their needs. It’s hard to put a weekly number on the animals we rescue but on average we find new homes for over 200 animals a year.

If somebody reading this would like to support the centre, how can they help?

There are so many ways people can support us! During the pandemic we have been using our social media platforms a lot to promote our work and help to rehome the animals at the Centre whilst the Centre has been closed, so liking our Facebook page is a really good way to find out about all of our other fundraising initiatives.

We have collection drop off points for donations of animal food, treats and essentials in several large local supermarkets (Asda Falmouth, Tesco Camborne & St Ives, Sainsburys Helston, Pets at Home Falmouth) - along with an Amazon WishList which you can view here

Shopping at our Charity shop in Hayle or via our new online charity shop which you can find here.

You can also make a donation online to support the charity by visiting their online donations page here.

And of course by shopping with yourselves and buying some Christmas cards!

 Neveya - rescue puppy at the Cornwall Centre

The festive period is a special time for everyone, how do you make sure the residents and the volunteers at the centre have a wonderful Christmas?

Normally our Christmas events are the highlight of our calendar, a great opportunity for everyone to get together at the Centre and really treat the residents. In the past we have been overwhelmed by the kind gifts and donations we have received for the animals. We decorate the Centre and ensure each pen and kennel has its own stocking filled with treats. We even wrap up presents for the dogs and cats to open on Christmas morning! In the past we have held a supporters buffet lunch in the run up to Christmas with Christmas Carols and normally on Christmas day we lay out a buffet lunch for the staff and volunteers dedicating their time to making Christmas special at the Centre. Some of the animals at the Centre have never experienced such a loving, caring day to day environment so giving them a special Christmas can really bring home the value of what we do and why the Centre is so important.

NAWT Cornwall Centre in Hayle

Thanks Kat - it's great to hear more about the centre and how we can support you. It was a pleasure to visit them in Hayle and find out more about the wonderful work they are doing to look after the cats and dogs in Cornwall that need a new home.

If you’d like to find out more about the charity, the work they do or support them with a donation – you can discover more on their website here.

Don't forget you can buy some of our Christmas cards to support their charity - see the full range here.