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Building a new future for wildlife

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

In the 50 years since our founder, Dennis Fenter, began caring for injured wildlife the standards of welfare, good practice, and government legislation have changed, as have the expectations of staff, volunteers and donors. Our ¾ acre hospital site was originally purchased in 1986 but was never considered as a whole and as patient numbers and facilities grew over time, the site lacked an overall rationale.

To ensure that the hospital continues to run efficiently and up to standard for the future there was a pressing need for new fit-for-purpose enclosures and an admissions building. The aim is to improve patient welfare and biosecurity, and to rationalise access to the site for the public, staff, and volunteers. We are delighted to announce that thanks to generous funding we are nearing competition for this important milestone project. The Patient Admissions Building sees us embarking on Phase 4 of our multi-phased ‘Brent Lodge Big Build’ plan to upgrade our facilities.

Spanning over 4 years, Phases 1, 2 and 3 saw us successfully fundraising and constructing bird of prey enclosures, water pool enclosures and large mammal enclosures. These enclosures are purpose build to improve rehabilitation, allowing patients to recover and learn the necessary skills needed for release and survive in the wild. The bird enclosures, in particular, have extra flight space so birds can gain wing strength ready for their release.

With these necessary ‘building blocks’ in place for recuperating wildlife we then turn our attention to Phase 4 and constructing our new Patient Admissions Building.

Four design principles were considered when planning the Admission Building.

• To build a stand-alone building with a vet service to improve wildlife welfare via faster patient triage and treatment, resulting in fewer patient journeys to and from local vets, thereby reducing patient suffering.

• To improve the efficiency and logistics of patient admissions to better separate patient facilities from non-hospital related people and activities.

• To comply with DEFRA guidelines regarding wildlife, enabling effective bio-security protocols, particularly with regard to vehicle and people movement and access.

• To improve our environmental performance through the use of sustainable materials, low carbon energy sources, and rainwater harvesting with the aim being a carbon-neutral building.

We are thrilled that the build will be ready for competition in summer 2023. We are especially grateful for the generous financial support of grants and recent legacy donors who remembered us in their Wills to help us fund this project. This, along with other phases of our Big Build project, will make a real and lasting difference to the early treatment and rehabilitation of injured or orphaned wildlife casualties.

By Asha Park

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