FREE PRESS AND GUARDIAN/JERRY GREEN APPEAL: Come on, let’s do it for the dogs!
We’re launching an appeal this week to help Jerry Green Dog Rescue build new, much-improved kennels for pooches in need.
The centre has been operating on its site at Algarkirk, near Sutterton, for the past 20 years, but now the kennels have become tired, are too small, and need to be renovated.
We do not anticipate that dogs are with us for too long but sometimes they are and we want to make the kennels twice the size both inside and out.
It’s a big job though and the centre needs to raise £200,000 to make this happen.
We’re asking our readers to help – and to get the ball rolling we want to be able to raise at least £4,000 to buy a Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian kennel for the new block.
Centre manager Jo Hickson, who has been at the site since the start, said: “We want to get rid of the long corridors in the kennels and make the kennels themselves bigger. They are getting quite sad, tired and echoey, and have chipped tiles.
“We currently have 51 kennels, but we never have that many dogs here at a time because we want to be able to invest enough time to do the training and assessment with the dogs. So the kennels will half in number, but double in size.”
Last year, the centre rehomed 193 dogs and in her time there, Jo has seen 4,174 dogs go to new homes.
Her colleagues say that she remembers the name of every dog that has passed through the doors and people often bring their dogs back in to see the volunteers at the centre.
“The first dog I ever rehomed was an eight-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross called Dahmar,” Jo recalls.
“It is nice when people bring their dogs back to see us. We’ll see a dog that might have come in to us at first stressed and struggling then come back as a happy dog.
“We also do grooming, socialising and training classes and have a shop here that people come to use. We want our supporters to be our friends and to pop in and say hello.”
Myself and photographer Tim Wilson were shown around the current kennels by both Jo and fundraising and communications officer Elizabeth Hempstock.
As well as being greeted by excited dogs, and a few who were a little more shy, they explained just why new kennels are needed.
Elizabeth said: “They were built 20 years ago and a lot has changed in 20 years so we need to bring them up to date.
“We do not anticipate that dogs are with us for too long but sometimes they are and we want to make the kennels twice the size both inside and out.
“We want to improve the heating and lighting and there are some dogs who are scared of other dogs, so rather than them being divided by a corridor and constantly having to face or see another dog, we want to have the kennels in ‘blocks’ rather than having them along a long corridor.”
Jo explained that the idea was to have doors instead of a long corridor dividing the kennels so that the dogs feel they have more of their own space.
The dream to overhaul the kennels is part of a massive makeover for the centre.
They were hugely grateful to recently receive £200,000 in funding from the PawPrint Charitable Trust to be able to build a new pavilion which will be called the PawPrint Pavilion.
Once built, this will be home to the centre’s training classes, be somewhere to train and work with their rescue dogs and be a space for the community to hire out.
Another phase of improvements at the centre is the overhaul of the Meet and Match block. Jerry Green has already raised £50,000 to make this possible.
It will house a “bigger and better shop” for adopters and people to visit, plus lots of spaces for potential new owners to meet their four-legged friends, and ‘zen rooms’ for any dogs that are struggling to cope in kennels.
Elizabeth said: “Meet and Match is like ‘dog dating’. Some people will come to the centre just wanting a companion and others are very specific with the type of dog they are looking for.
“You get to have a discussion about the dogs and meet them in the rooms. One of the rooms might be set up like a living room with a sofa and a rug, with access to a garden outside.
“A zen room with lavender will be a place for the dog to chill out and be relaxed.
“The volunteers will be able to go into the rooms to be with the dogs.
“We’ll also have a ‘cuddle area’.
“This is going to make a massive difference to the public who do our Meet and Match and will be tailored to individual dogs.”
Let’s fundraise for Guardian and Free Press kennels!
Jerry Green Dog Rescue doesn’t get any official funding or lottery money and relies on its supporters and public generosity to keep going.
Each individual kennel will cost about £4,000 and then there is the extra cost of the renovation for the kennels.
We hope our readers can help us raise enough money to buy the first kennel.
We’ll be able to put our name on it and choose the colour scheme, as well as following updates on the dog that gets the kennel, his or her story and when they get rehomed.
The centre hopes to raise the total £200,000 by the end of next year and get the new kennels completed in 2019.
Elizabeth said: “The work has to be done in stages otherwise there would be nowhere for the dogs to go.”
You can get involved by either making individual donations, or getting a team together and setting yourself a challenge - such as a sponsored car wash, a cake sale, or a charity walk.
We’d love to hear what you’re up to and we’ll be running regular updates on how the campaign is going.
You can send your donations in to us either by cash or cheque at The Spalding Guardian and Lincolnshire Free Press, Priory House, The Crescent, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 1AB. We’ll then forward them on to Jerry Green.
Please make cheques payable to Jerry GreenDog Rescue.
You can also donate via Paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you wish to pay by bank transfer please contact the shelter on 01205 260546.
Other ways you can help:
Jerry Green Dog Rescue has got lots of ideas to help with the fundraising push.
One is the ‘Throw Us a Brick’ Campaign.
Elizabeth said: “We don’t mean literally throw us a brick! But if people pledge £100 by the end of 2018 that in turn will get the person an engraved brick to show they’ve supported the appeal.
“We’re also inviting children and schools to fill a toilet roll with change and decorate it and the person who has made the best decorated one will win a morning with us here at the centre.
“There are also team challenges that people can do; we’ve done a challenge climbing the peaks in Yorkshire before, and raised £4,000 which could be the cost of one kennel.
“We just want people to get involved and get excited about it.
“These are all local dogs and we want the community to get behind the campaign and do something for their local dogs.”
“We are actively involved with the community and so it would be great to see the community of south Lincolnshire get together and make this happen.
“We want to make sure it is an all-inclusive purpose, because we know that people don’t have a lot of spare cash; we are happy if people want to fundraise or do a charity run or something.”
As an organisation, Jerry Green Dog Rescue homed around 1,000 dogs last year.
The first rescue centre was set up in 1961 by Jerry Green in Broughton, north Lincolnshire. Jerry was inspired to set up the centre after the loss of his spaniel, Rusty.
There are now seven centres across the county, supported by kind-hearted volunteers.
The Algarkirk centre has around 10 regular volunteers and 15 further volunteers who are available to help when needed - they might be on hand to take the dogs for walks or simply to provide day-to-day support. For more details visit www.jerrygreendogs.org.uk