‘Hodgepigs’ cares for sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs, treating the woodland creatures and releasing them back into the wild when possible.
After launching her venture in August, Louisa O’Connell runs the hedgehog rescue from the back garden of her home on Cherry Tree Avenue along with a team of volunteer foster carers.
These hedgehog lovers help take care of the animals and also organise donations to keep the rescue’s mission going.
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Louisa said: ‘Without these volunteers, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.
‘Lockdown has been very hard on all of us. As a new not-for-profit hedgehog rescue, it has been inspiring to receive so much support throughout this time, and we are thankful for everyone that has helped us.
‘As we come out of lockdown, hedgehogs are also emerging from their winter sleep and need our help.’
Hodgepigs receives support from Bert’s Hedgehog Retreat in Portsmouth and is also registered with the British Hedgehog Protection Society.
However, the rescue centre needs help.
Lousia said: ‘Hedgehogs are now on the red list for British mammals and so are now classified as vulnerable to extinction.
‘Every rescue in the UK is working hard to rehabilitate and release as many hedgehogs back to the wild as they can.
‘We rely on the support and vigilance of the public to help us raise awareness and to do all we can to ensure hedgehogs can roam freely to find their own food, support them with food and water in our own gardens, and highlight dangers that cause them injury and illness - particularly strimmers and slug pellets.
‘We are happy to give support and advice and work closely with Companion Care Vets to treat sick and injured hedgehogs.’
Hodgepigs hosts fundraising activities, details of which can be found on the centre’s Facebook page. The next event will be on May 29.
Louisa would also like to see more community engagement caring for hedgehogs, and hopes to run sessions to educate more people about these woodland creatures.
She added: ‘We particularly want to see local schools, colleges and universities encouraging green spaces and involvement in education about preservation of hedgehogs.’
You can support Hodgepigs Hedgehog Rescue by visiting gofund.me/bf6ecf90.