Paws And Claws Are Approaching Their 40th Birthday
Who would have thought, back in 1977, when a group of friends started rescuing cats in the Haywards Heath area, that we would be where we are today, 40 years on? Starting with only £30 in the kitty and looking after the animals in their spare bedrooms and garden sheds whilst trying to find them good homes, it is an amazing achievement for a small group of people with little money. Those of us who started helping in those early days remember stories of kittens being born in their bathrooms specially adapted for pregnant mums to give birth in safety and comfort.
We then had the good fortune to be allowed space at Gaybrook Kennels in Goddards Green where owner Vi Warriner and her staff looked after our growing number of cats (and in those days, dogs, too). We raised money when and how we could to pay the boarding fees and of course our vet bills. Looking back, there was nothing to it, compared to now!
After 28 years devoted to serving the local community we were finally able to buy a property in Sayers Common where we have purpose-built our own Rescue Centre, which includes the Pavilion, a permanent home for elderly and difficult to home cats. At any one time we have 45-55 animals in our care. Running Coombe Down is an all-consuming task for the volunteers who are committed to the cause, from rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming the cats, to staffing and all manner of ’domestic’ arrangements, the maintenance of the buildings and grounds, and raising enough money to do all this has to go on all year round. The work is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding but there can be nothing more rewarding than to look back on the tens of hundreds of cats we have saved, helped and found loving homes for. The joy of seeing cats safe with us and then given a new start in life with loving owners is immeasurable and we never tire of getting feedback, updates and photographs of how the lives of cats and their owners have been changed and enhanced. In 2016 we homed 68 cats, including 7 older ones from the Pavilion and 5 to outdoor homes. Also 23 kittens were adopted, 7 cats are being fostered and 2 reunited with their owners, thanks to being microchipped.
None of this has been achieved without the hard work and dedication of the team I work alongside, and the generous support in all sorts of ways, of members, sponsors and volunteers. In this our 40th anniversary year, I offer my sincere thanks to my fellow Trustees and all of you, without whom
Paws & Claws would not be the charity it is today, committed to cat rescue and welfare.
Address: Paws & Claws ARS, Coombe Down, London Road, Sayers Common, West Sussex, BN6 9HZ
Telephone: 01273 831125