As well as requests from businesses for their staff to do volunteer days at the shelter, interest in visiting from a variety of youth groups has increased.
Needing to balance the value of education with potential stress on the cats and availability of volunteer time to manage these visits means that we are not always in a position to assist.
However, we currently have a student volunteering with us through the Wellington High School Gateway Work Experience programme, and in the last two months we have welcomed a group of Animal Care Trades Academy students, Brownies from the Berhampore Brownie troupe, and also Rangers from Island Bay.
Keeping the numbers limited and visits focused on the cats’ needs means we can safely meet our goal of educating the public in appropriate cat care, and share how we work, adapting to the age needs of our visitors.
Having a meeting room upstairs means that half of a group can be involved in activities/quizzes, etc while the other half can be downstairs with the cats.
The celebration of our new building, aka the West Wing, was held on 30 March with around 60 guests coming in over the two hours to be shown around new areas, as well as the current shelter (where several cats were extremely happy to have SOO much company and adoration).
Posters from campaigns, pictures and a video montage of past cats, fabulous new cat silhouettes on the walls, and merchandise made for a bright and lively environment.
I want to acknowledge communications and fundraising sub-committee members Gabby, Amy and Helen, Committee members Lauren, Sharon, Amanda and Charine, and team leads Delwyn and Kim for their time and energy in managing the invites, decorating, setting up and managing the evening itself.
Nibbles and bubbly went down a treat and it was just lovely to see the enthusiasm shown by members, fosterers and supporters – a very happy event all round!
An added bonus of the new build is having walls where we can share our cat images, so long in storage, and it reminds us of the cats we’ve rehomed over the years in all their feline glory.