Bexhill’s well-known animal rescue charity is in crisis because of a lack of volunteers.
Barby Keel says there is “a desperate need” for help at her sanctuary in Freezeland Lane, as well as in the charity’s shop in St Leonards Road, and her team is struggling to cope.
She opened the sanctuary in 1982 having moved onto the four acre site in 1970.
Barby lived inside a caravan on the field for 20 years, but from modest beginnings the rescue centre has grown and is now caring for some 600 creatures including chickens, sheep, seagulls, ferrets, pot-bellied pigs and ponies.
However this week she revealed the pressure of taking in so many and said: “There is a desperate need for reliable and trustworthy volunteers here and in the shop. We are really struggling. The girls and lads here are really working hard but we need more people.” There are currently some 30 or so volunteers and Barby says on some days ten volunteers might show up but on other days as few as two.
“We are struggling from day to day”, she said, “every day we are short, every day we are struggling for volunteers.” She admits the work can be hard at the sanctuary but there is also need for those who just want to spend time giving attention to animals while the regular helpers go about their many daily chores.
Trustee Michael Lamb stressed the need for helpers in the charity shop, as well as volunteers at the sanctuary, and fundraisers who will take on the task of bringing in cash for the charity. He said: “We need dedicated people that are going to be reliable to do various things. They have a choice in what they want to do.”
Michelle Thew, Labour’s hope for Bexhill’s next MP, has worked longterm in animal rights and protection, and said of the charity: “Unwanted animals in Bexhill need the commitment that Barby Keel gives them. There are few places in the country that offer this kind of lifelong care for animals that can’t find homes. Without the dedication of Barby and her team many animals would suffer - even losing their life with no-one there to care for them. As someone who works in the animal protection field I know the critical need met by Barby Keel’s sanctuary. Thousands of animals owe their life to her.”
Call 01424 222032.