Jam Jar Army: Future is bright for Jimmy thanks to awareness session

Carole Catchpole, from the hedgehog rescue trust, won a Best of Northumberland Award last month.
Carole Catchpole, from the hedgehog rescue trust, won a Best of Northumberland Award last month.

One of the current Jam Jar Army beneficiaries has ‘been exceptionally busy this year’, underlining why the charity needs our support.

Carole Catchpole, who runs the Northumbrian Hedgehog Rescue Trust said that this is ‘mainly due to hedgehogs struggling to find food and, for this reason, we always encourage people to help them’.

She continued: “Using an upturned plastic storage box with a five-inch hole cut in one end and a brick on the top to stop it blowing away is ideal as this will not only keep food dry for the hedgehogs, but will help to prevent the local cats helping themselves.

“Hedgehogs are omnivores like us and will eat most things but their preference is meat variety cat/dog food, mealworms and peanut granules. We have one lady who makes peanut butter sandwiches for her nightly visitors and they love them! Bread and milk is a definite no as this causes gastroenteritis. Water’s also vital.

“The other problem has been lack of rehabilitators in the area to care for them when they need help. One lady phoned from Consett and said she’d tried 18 different phone numbers she’d been given and we were the only ones to respond. This has put a great deal of pressure on us and we would love to have more volunteers helping these iconic animals.

“We feel it’s such a privilege to be working so closely with wildlife and extremely rewarding when they’re released back into the wild to produce the next generation. If you would like to help please go to our website – www.hedgehogs-northumbria.org – and, under the volunteering section, you will see the volunteers handbook and then please contact us. We have a great bunch of people helping already who would welcome you as a member of the team.

“We were at Sainsbury’s last Friday, which proved very successful. The five volunteers managed a bag pack as well as an awareness section which proved very popular.

“So much so, one lady from Alnwick phoned us the following day to say she’d found a hedgehog lying in the middle of the lawn and, because she’d been the previous day, knew exactly what to do.

“Jimmy, as the hedgehog’s called, has spent his first night with us wrapped in a cosy fleece on a warm heat pad and devoured everything put in front of him. The future now looks bright for Jimmy.”

We need you to back the Army’s 2016 march

As in previous years, we want as many people as possible to back the Jam Jar Army and support the beneficiaries which won the public vote.

This year’s campaign is backing two charities for the first time – Abbeyfield North Northumberland Extra Care Society (ANNEC), which runs Abbeyfield House in Alnwick, and the Northumbrian Hedgehog Rescue Trust, based in Longframlington – following a tie once the votes had all been counted.

To get involved, all you need to do is collect your spare change in jam jars; if everyone in north Northumberland fills one jar, we can raise plenty of cash for the two worthy causes.

We have stickers and posters to advertise the campaign, which can be collected from the Gazette office in Alnwick.

Full jam jars or donations for the campaign can also be dropped off at the Gazette office or at the Lions bookshop.