This Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), RSPCA Cymru and the RSPCA Gwent Branch are celebrating a joint initiative which has seen a number of new volunteers collecting and transporting wild animals in need from the Gwent area.
Wildlife casualty volunteers (WCVs) support RSPCA officers with their frontline rescue work – collecting sick, injured or orphaned birds and small mammals, and transporting them to wildlife centres, rehabilitators and vets.
A project was launched to recruit new WCVs from within the Gwent Branch’s existing volunteer and supporter base – offering a “real lifeline” to the region’s wildlife.
RSPCA inspector Julie Fadden has trained the volunteers – with eight freshly-trained WCVs now supporting RSPCA officers on the frontline on a daily basis. She says it is important to “pay tribute” to all those giving up their time to charities this Volunteers Week.
Julie said: “Wildlife casualty volunteers offer a real lifeline to the RSPCA’s inspectorate – doing an awesome and invaluable job collecting and delivering wildlife.
“This is not only vital in securing the rehabilitation of wild animals; but also frees up our inspectors and animal rescue officers to investigate cruelty and help more animals in need.
“It has been great to work with the RSPCA’s Gwent Branch – and eight of their existing volunteer base are now volunteering with us as WCVs. They’re making Gwent a better place for wild animals to live.
“We couldn’t do what we do without our amazing volunteers – and this Volunteers’ Week, I want to pay tribute to all of those giving up their time to help animals, including our fantastic WCVs in Gwent.”
Christopher Strong, events and volunteer officer for the RSPCA Gwent Branch, added: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our charity – and I’m really pleased we were able to tap into our existing volunteer and supporter base to recruit new WCVs.
“It’s a great example of a local RSPCA branch working with the national RSPCA for the good of animals.
“Volunteering Week is a great opportunity to highlight the amazing work volunteers do – but also to hopefully recruit more too.
“It can be great fun to volunteer, amazing for a CV or personal development and an opportunity to meet those similarly passionate for a particular cause.
“We’re always looking for more people to help our animal welfare efforts in Gwent and Brecknock; from Newport all the way to Builth Wells. More information can be found on the RSPCA Gwent Branch website.”
One of the volunteers is Carolynne Redwood – who got involved with the WCV scheme via the Gwent Branch at the end of 2020. A typical weekend for her now involves a jackdaw, a pigeon and a crow! Other animals she has helped include fox cubs and an owl.
She said: “Towards the end of 2020 I became aware of the RSPCA Gwent Branch. It was during lockdown and as an animal lover I wondered if I could support it in any way.
“After a couple of chats, I was really interested in becoming an RSPCA Branch vehicle driver. This was the first time I have ever committed to volunteering with a charity.
“During the start of my volunteering I was made aware of opportunities to go through some training as a wildlife casualty volunteer.
“About six weeks ago I met online with Julie from the RSPCA inspectorate, Christopher Strong from the Gwent Branch, and other volunteers and started my journey.
“Last weekend, I transferred a crow to vets from Maes Glas; and collected a hedgehog, a crow, a jackdaw, a pigeon and a duck and transferred them to the RSPCA’s West Hatch Wildlife Centre. This has been an amazing opportunity to get involved with, and the support and training is ongoing.”
More information about the role of wildlife casualty volunteers can be found online.
The RSPCA’s Gwent Branch can be reached on 01633 289399 or via rspcagwent.org.uk.