I first met Katy from Prickles and Paws when I visited her to chat about the Living Well to Work programme, Prickles and Paws is a “hogspital” just outside Newquay that takes in hedgehogs in need of treatment and rehabilitation. They are supported by a team of passionate volunteers and are themselves supportive of their volunteers.

For the Living Well to work participants it seemed an ideal opportunity for those wishing to volunteer in a quiet location and help animals, helping animals can often make volunteers feel good about what they are doing , doing good makes you feel good. Volunteering with and helping animals is also exceptionally good for people who have struggled with their mental health or struggle to engage with society.  Animals don’t judge you, they don’t shout, they just need help, if you struggle with lots of people and have become more and more isolated from society then volunteering at places like Prickles and Paws can be a gentle route back to re-engaging with society.

When I visited I donned a pair of gloves, read the health and safety guidelines and nervously began to help. I was terrified of dropping a hedgehog initially or inadvertently hurting them but soon overcame this as we had to get cracking.  Katy explained about the medications and how all hedgehogs needed weighing to track their health, not all hedgehogs agreed with the fact they had to be weighed and seemed to take great delight in showing me how capable they were of a quick dash.

The team work very hard and all incredibly passionate about their prickly patients who all had individual personalities. It was a huge pleasure to help them for the morning and find out more about them.  Excitingly at this stage Prickles and Paws were about to send in their paperwork for registered charity status.  I came away feeling really positive and inspired and got far more out of helping than I gave.

Moving forward a few weeks and at my next visit I was delighted to be able to congratulate Katy and Diane on gaining their charity registration status.  I was also introduced to a delicious set of prickly triplets who at approximately 2 weeks old have not even opened their eyes and as all babies do, require a lot of care.

It is so exciting to witness a stage of a journey where things are going to change massively for a small organisation, with the drive and passion that team Prickles and Paws have I truly believe that they will reach their goal to become a wildlife hospital for Cornwall. Here at Volunteer Cornwall we look forward to supporting them via our Academy and back to work programmes  to reach their goals. 

You can find out more about Prickles and Paws by clicking here.

If you are keen to volunteer and would like more information about opportunities in your area please do take a look at the Do-it website.