Monday, 21 April 2014

Help a Hedgehog is now a Registered Charity!

As our last article for the Stroud News Green Scene page disappeared into a black hole, here is the April column which should have been published weeks ago.

Help a Hedgehog Hospital is now a registered charity!

Pauhla Whitaker, our Chairperson has been working hard over the last few months to make sure our governing documents complied with the Charity Commission's requirements.

All the current committee members and officers are now the Trustees of the new charity. We have come a long way since Annie Parfitt started the hospital in a very small way in her back garden in 2008, but our aims remain the same – to rescue, rehabilitate and release sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs. We also 
aim to educate the public about the wild European hedgehog
(Erinaceus Europeus - our native species) by means of talks and events. 

Our spring release programme is now well under way – 10 pairs have been
released in the Cranham area so if you live in the village - look out
for hedgehogs marked with pink or blue nail varnish! If you find one in
distress please contact us quickly. If all goes well, there should be a
new population in the area soon. Others have been released in the King's
Stanley, Stonehouse and Frampton areas, and also around Tetbury,
Brimscombe and Bussage.  Altogether 174 hogs were in care over the
winter, and most of those have regained a healthy weight and will go on
to continue their life cycle.

Our fundraising activities will be gearing up soon too – we will be
attending many outdoor events during the spring and summer, and hope to
see our friends there. The Hospital is run entirely by volunteers and
relies on donations and sale of our merchandise to fund the care of the
hedgehogs. If you would like to book a talk for your group or school,
please call John on 01453 885653. We don't charge a fee, but a donation
towards our work and supplies of meaty catfood are always welcome.

For more information and contact details, please see our website

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Spring is almost here!

Now we're into March already and the hibernating hedgehogs should be waking up soon! In fact, this winter has been so mild that many hogs have not hibernated at all. Many have been found out and about during the winter, and people have been kind enough to pick them up and pass them onto us for care. Most of these have been very underweight and hungry, as although the weather has not been cold, their natural diet of worms and beetles is very hard to find. Sadly many will have perished in areas that have suffered flooding, which makes the work of rescues such as ours even more important to help keep this endearing little creature safe from extinction.

More than 170 hogs have spent the winter in our care – most of these were “autumn juveniles” born at the end of the summer, too late to put on sufficient fat reserves to survive the winter. Those weighing less than 500 gms are unlikely to survive without care, and a safer weight margin is 600gms. So if you see a hedgehog in the early spring, it is likely to have lost weight during the winter and need some extra food to boost its chances of a successful breeding season.

Talking of food in particular generates litter....... which is a danger to all wildlife but items such as MacFlurry lids, and Krushems cups – the sort with a hole in the dome -shaped lid can be lethal, as we found a few days ago. An otherwise healthy hedgehog had to be put to sleep because of the injuries caused when it tried to escape from one of these lids which was round its neck. Please don't leave these things lying around.

We will be starting our release programme in April – I hope you have had a chance to see the window display at the Stroud Valleys Project shop – the map boards indicate where the “hotspots” for hogs are, and also the many areas where hedgehogs appear to be absent. There are many reasons why some areas seem devoid of hedgehogs – including unsuitable habitat, loss of hedgerows and a high badger population: badgers can and do eat hedgehogs if other natural food is in short supply.

For more information, emergency numbers, or to book a talk for your group or school – please see our website

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year from Help a Hedgehog Hospital!

Now it's January and still wet & windy!

Still the little hogs have been coming in.......cold, wet and hungry! The mild weather so far has meant that autumn juveniles are still being found, many of them seriously ill with internal parasites, and very underweight. If you find one – please call our emergency number 07870 378 207 (after 9am) or 01453 823871 -  or your local rescue if you are not in Gloucestershire -  as time is of the essence and these little ones need specialist care. Please do not think you can keep them in a box and all will be well – it won't.

Currently the Hospital carers have more than 150 little mouths to feed – gradually those which have put on enough weight can safely go into hibernation, but those under 600 g will continue to need food and care.

As 2013 drew to a close, our pre – Christmas fund raising efforts stepped up! Many thanks to all who gave generously at our Tesco collection, bought our calendars or visited our stall at Westonbirt Arboretum Enchanted Forest. Our four evenings there were very successful in spite of the downpours.

Countryfile gave us some very good publicity – and a classic moment! Hedgehogs don't normally bite – but that little one showed John Craven he'd had enough! Fortunately Carole was on hand to briskly remove the hog and put him away safely! Our website enquiry form was red hot for a few days after the programme.

We take a break from fundraising for a few weeks until the Festival of Birds at Slimbridge WWT on 1st and 2nd February, but talks continue throughout the year, and our carers continue to clean, feed and look after our spikey friends every day.

For more information, contact details and what to do in an emergency, please see our website

The defining moment on Countryfile!!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Update from Help a Hedgehog

Well - we haven't had time to do much blogging lately!  We've been busy with events, talks and general fundraising efforts, as well as the day to day tasks of caring for the hedgehogs - which after all, is what it's all about!

If you are a regular reader of the Stroud News & Journal you will have been able to keep up with our monthly article in the Green Scene.

So what happened in October? No Green Scene! So here is the article which would have been in ............

News from Help a Hedgehog Hospital

We've now passed the Autumnal Equinox and the nights are drawing in fast! Temperatures are still fairly warm so the hedgehogs will be out and about each evening looking for food. Please continue to put out dry or wet cat food for them as they need all the food they can get at this time of year in order to boost their fat reserves for hibernation. Don't forget to leave out fresh water as well, as this is vital for all wildlife.

Young hogs born towards the end of the summer will be trying to make their own way now, and you may well find small hedgehogs in your garden. While they may be perfectly healthy, please pick them up and weigh them, as if they weigh less than 450 gm now, they will not be big enough to survive the winter. As hedgehog numbers have declined so rapidly over the last couple of decades, it is an important part of our work to ensure that as many as possible of these little ones are cared for over the winter to be released in the spring, to carry on their life cycle.. Please contact us if you find a small hog – 160 underweight autumn juveniles made it through last winter in our care.
Hedgehogs need to be a minimum weight of at least 500 – 600gm to survive the winter.

It is also important to contact us quickly if you see a hog out in the daytime, or an injured one, as delay can mean the difference between life and death. Hedgehogs do not hibernate or sleep in the open – if a hog is not moving it is either very poorly or already dead.

Also at this time of year we have to issue the usual warnings about bonfires and strimmers – gardeners are out tidying up – please check before strimming as they cause horrific injuries, and unlit bonfires are attractive to hedgehogs – with obvious and distressing results if they are lit some days later. The rule must be – light the bonfire the day it is built!

Our talks team will be happy to talk about our work with hedgehogs to groups large and small – please call John on 01453 885653 to book a talk. We do ask for a donation, and we have some merchandise to sell to help our funds. Thanks to all who supported our stall at the Stroud Festival of Nature and Frampton Country Fair – we rely on your help! Our next event is our Autumn Hibernation event at the Arkell Centre on Saturday 19th October. We hope to see you there! For contact details and more information, please see our website

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

BBBBBRRRRR!!!! ..... Is it nearly Spring yet?

It's been a while since we updated our blog.......... not since Christmas in fact.

Most of the more than 140  hedgehogs have put on lots of weight and those large enough to hibernate have been asleep for quite a while. Some smaller ones have decided to stay awake & take advantage of the food on offer. We will be releasing most of them when they are ready to go.....hopefully when the weather warms up a bit.

It's been quiet on the fundraising front lately too, apart from our programme of talks which has continued throughout the winter months. We do talks to groups of all ages - call John on 01453 885653 to book a talk for your group. We don't charge a fee - but as this is an important source of income for Hospital, we are grateful for donations, or for the group to organise an event.

Our young friend Isabella is doing just that - a sponsored swim - all this week from 23rd - 30th March she will be swimming two hours daily at the Virgin Active pool in Gloucester - by the end of the week she will have swum 1300 lengths of the pool - 19 miles - equivalent to a Channel swim! If you would like to sponsor her - just go to our Paypal button on the website and say what it is for.

Now we are starting to get busy with our Spring events.........let's hope we get some warmer weather soon!

A full list of our planned events is on the website - but we will be starting off with a Craft Activity Day
( hedgehog themed of course!) at the Corinium Museum in Cirencester, on Easter Saturday, March 30th, from 10am -4pm.. This is also tied in with Cath Hodsman's exhibition of her prints, which is currently running, till April 8th.

Our Spring Event at Bussage Village Hall will be on Sunday 14th April - 10am - 2.30pm. There will be stalls, games, tombola, and refreshments, including Cream Teas! Tickets for our Spring Draw will also be on sale. There may also be a chance to meet one of our patients.

Our Art and Craft Fayre at Frampton on Severn on Monday 27th May promises to be a great day - lots of super stalls and a chance to win one of the lovely prizes donated by the stallholders in our Spring Draw.

We have also booked space at many local events throughout the next few months, so hope to see lots of our friends there.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas from Help a Hedgehog Hospital!

Christmas is here and the hedgehogs are getting fat!  Over 140 little guests eat lots of food!  Most of them are too small to hibernate or they would not wake up again so we have to keep feeding them until they are strong enough to face life in the great outdoors when we release them in the Spring.

Our fundraising efforts have come to a halt for the time being - we had eight events in the run up to Christmas so now we are taking a breather until the last weekend in January, when we will be at the WWT Wetland Centre at Slimbridge for the Festival of Birds.

We went to craft fairs, goodwill evenings, charity fairs and supermarkets - our friends were generous - buying our calendars, Christmas cards and other merchandise.  All proceeds go towards the care of the hedgehogs. We also received some generous donations, which will enable us to keep on caring and not have to turn away any needy patients.

So enjoy the Christmas break - but remember to keep a look out for little hedgehogs out in the cold and wet - they will not survive without help! Pick them up and weigh them - any under 600gms need to be looked after for the winter.  They do need specialist care - our carers are experienced and trained to give the medication they need; so don't try to do it yourself - just give us a call on 01453 886424.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Events update

Our event at The Arkell Centre in Forest Green on Saturday 27th October was a great success, raising nearly £600 towards the food and vet's bills for the care of the hedgehogs.  Our thanks go to all who came and supported us at the event, those who helped on the day and behind the scenes.

We have several events coming up in the run up to Christmas - yesterday our hedgehog stall was at the Cirencester combined charities Christmas fair - a lovely event which was very well attended. As the only wildlife stall there, along with all the others supporting humanitarian causes, our merchandise was a little bit different and sold well. We raised £200 to keep our hogs in food for a week or two!

On Friday November 16th we will be at the Frampton Community Centre in Lake Lane from 3pm -7pm and hope to see some of our friends there. Our calendars for 2013 and our exclusive Christmas cards - the painting done specially for us by our friend Tricia Britton - have been selling well and people tell us they love them! Thankyou Tricia for the lovely painting!

The next event after that will be the Charities Fair at Wotton Under Edge on Saturday 24th November - this is always a lovely event and well supported. We hope that this year will be no exception!

On Sunday 25th November, Pauhla will be at Cranham Craft Fayre, selling Help a Hedgehog merchandise along with her own beautiful things, which will also benefit the hedgehogs by 10%.  So go along and support Pauhla as well as the hedgehogs!

The following weekend will see us at Teckels Christmas Fair - Saturday 1st December, starting at 6.30pm. Last year this was a great event - lots of stalls and lots of people - so go along and get your Christmas gifts and help animal charities at the same time.

We will be beginning to get event fatigue by the time Stroud Goodwill Evening is held on Friday 7th December!  But we will be there and hope you will be too!  Our hedgehogs need us to raise all the money we can - over 100 hungry mouths eat lots of food!

Finally, our last two events before Christmas - Friday 14th December will see us back in Frampton for another Fayre at the Community Centre - this will be the one where we will be pulling out the prize winners for our Christmas draw - so buy your tickets in good time at any of our events beforehand! Lots of lovely prizes!

On Saturday 15th December - do your shopping at Tesco's in Stroud!  We will be there with our collecting boxes for Help a Hedgehog Hospital, hoping that our friends will be as generous as ever and give a little bit for the hogs at Christmas!