Our founder and principal expert Carole Catchpole has been involved and had a love of animals all her life. When she & her husband moved to Longframlington in 1980 they soon realised they had hedgehogs visiting their garden nightly and encouraged them by setting up a feeding station and one evening counted 13 enjoying the feast.
In 1998 Carole was widowed and that autumn a very young hedgehog presented itself in need of help and had obviously knocked on the right door as Carole decided to care for her until she could be released in the spring.
With limited knowledge Carole did a great deal of research and that little hedgehog was just the beginning. Soon the word spread locally and Carole found herself taking in an increasing number of hedgehogs. During this time she was not only caring for the hedgehogs herself but was also funding it from her savings. Several wooden hutches were donated or purchased second hand and so her double garage was now becoming a rescue centre, called Northumbrian Hedgehog Rescue.
As patient numbers increased it proved difficult coping single handed and Carole persuaded friends to help. By 2012 the wooden rabbit hutches had reached a point where they need replacing and Carole decided to invest in some bespoke Veterinary quality cages which would not only be easier to clean but would prevent any cross contamination. She received a grant of £2,500 from Pets at Home but was unsuccessful elsewhere and funded the £9,000 needed herself, which was finally repaid 2 years later following fund raising events.
The Rescue Centre continued to grow so that now as well as the indoor accommodation, we also have three specialist gardens including an outside area specifically designed to enable amputees or disabled hedgehogs that cannot be safely released back to the wild, to live in natural conditions but cared for and supported 365 days a year. We have had successful matings in one of these areas and the young juveniles are released into the wild to help increase the hedgehog population. Two of the areas have only been up and running for less than a year, so we hope for more success there too in 2017! We also have a soft release area with both indoor and outdoor facilities for those ready for release back to the wild.
From these small beginnings the rescue became a Trust in 2011 and finally a registered charity (No.1152034) in 2013. We now care for approximately 400 hedgehogs annually and frequently overwinter 100 plus. Our policy has been and will remain to always help a hedgehog in need and never refuse sanctuary.
In 2016 Carole was awarded the British Empire Medal for her work with hedgehogs.
Euthanasia is always a last resort and every hedgehog is given the best care and treatment possible, which may or may not involve veterinary treatment. Our aim is to relieve the suffering and distress of hedgehogs in need of care and attention by providing a rescue, care and rehabilitation service for sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs with the aim of releasing them back into the wild wherever possible.
Any hedgehog brought to us is treated free of charge, although we do appreciate donations which help us continue this important work.