When I moved to Chipping Sodbury in September 2020, I had just finished my postgraduate degree at university, and had landed with a thud into the world of unemployment – thanks to COVID-19. I was determined to spend my time job-searching wisely, and wanted to help out with the local community. I have always loved animals, so when I found out about Tracey’s hedgehog rescue centre, I knew that it sounded like just the thing for me.
I went for a visit and was shown around Tracey’s garden, where she keeps all the hedgehogs in various enclosures, depending on their health and how soon they are to be being released back into the wild. Then, on my first day volunteering, I was shown how to clean out the cages, fill up the hedgehogs’ food and water bowls, and keep our supplies of cleaning spray and various tools in stock.
Once I had become more experienced with the hedgehogs, Tracey introduced me to working in the hedgehog hospital. Tracey has a fantastic setup, whereby she has converted a wooden shed into an insulated place for the baby hedgehogs, many of whom come in injured, where they can recuperate in an incubator and receive treatment. Working in the hedgehog hospital was wonderful, and each day I volunteered, I left with a big grin on my face as the morning passed by so quickly while I was working with the hedgehogs. I even got to give one of the baby hedgehogs, Orla, her bath!
Volunteering here has allowed me to get up close and personal with hedgehogs – an opportunity which is quite rare in the wild! I felt privileged to be helping Tracey with her vital rescue centre, learning about these fascinating animals and meeting other volunteers who are just as passionate as I am about helping the local wildlife. 2020 has certainly not been easy for me, but volunteering here has certainly kept me going, and has been a positive experience to add to an otherwise hectic year.