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Supporting Small Charities Week | Story of a Humble Wildlife Charity

Dennis Fenter with a sparrow on he's shoulder, wearing black glasses and a cream shirt

In the heart of West Sussex, nestled away in a West Sussex village called Sidlesham, lies Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital, a testament to the extraordinary impact of a small charity. For over 50 years, this humble organisation, founded by the visionary Dennis Fenter, has grown from a backyard wildlife rescue to a prominent wildlife charity, caring for over 3,000 wild animals a year. Small Charities Week promotes a opportune moment to reflect on the remarkable journey of Brent Lodge and explore ways in which individuals can support similar organisations.

The Backyard Beginnings of a Humble Charity:

Dennis Fenter's story is one of passion and dedication. A true visionary and wildlife enthusiast embarked on an extraordinary journey that led to the creation of Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital. Over 50 years ago, driven by his deep concern for injured and orphaned wildlife, Dennis started a small back garden wildlife rescue. With limited resources but an unwavering determination, he dedicated himself to providing care and rehabilitation to British wildlife in need. Through his tireless efforts, word spread, and Brent Lodge began to flourish.

Dennis' passion and commitment laid the foundation for the organisation's growth, transforming it from a humble backyard rescue into a prominent wildlife charity. His selfless devotion to wildlife conservation and his invaluable contributions have made a lasting impact on the local community and the countless wild animals whose lives have been touched by his compassion. Dennis' journey is a testament to the profound difference that one person's dedication and love for animals can make.

Vet wearing white gloves assisting breathing machine over hedgehogs mouth

Wildlife Charity's Growth and Transformation:

Sadly, Dennis passed away in 2019 but his legacy, passion and accomplishments live on through Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital. The work they do exemplifies what can be achieved when passion, dedication, and community support come together to create a lasting impact.

Over the course of 50 years, Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital has undergone a remarkable transformation, expanding far beyond its humble beginnings in a backyard. Today, the organisation stands as a testament to the power of vision and perseverance. From caring for a handful of animals, Brent Lodge has evolved into a well-respected wildlife rehabilitation hospital, caring for over 3,000 animals each year. The hospital has become a vital lifeline for bird and mammal casualties, offering a second chance at life to everything from sick or injured hedgehogs to owls and orphaned fox cubs or baby birds, making a profound impact on wildlife conservation.

With the creation of their recent education outreach programme, the Charity now actively engages with schools and communities, spreading awareness about the importance of respecting and protecting wildlife. The Charity's recent construction of modern rehabilitation enclosures and an eco-friendly admissions building showcases the commitment of Brent Lodge to providing the highest standards of wildlife care and rehabilitation.

Impact on the Local Community:

Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital plays a pivotal role in its local community, leaving a lasting impact in various ways:

  • Wildlife Rehabilitation: By rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing injured and orphaned animals, Their efforts ensure the survival and well-being of numerous wildlife species, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the local community.

  • Education and Outreach: The charity actively engages with schools, community groups, and the wider public, delivering educational programs and workshops on wildlife conservation. By raising awareness about the importance of protecting and preserving wildlife, Brent Lodge empowers individuals to make a positive impact on their environment.

  • Wildlife Advocacy: Brent Lodge is dedicated to advocating for wildlife welfare and conservation policies. Through their collaborative efforts with local authorities, wildlife organisations, and conservation bodies, they influence decision-making processes and work towards securing a sustainable future for wildlife.

  • Wildlife Advice: Assisting RSPCA inspectors, Wildlife Police Officers, Veterinary Clinics and members of the public.

Brent lodge wildlife hospital collection pots, various colours, pictures of birds and foxes

How to Support Small Charities:

Small charities like Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital rely heavily on community support to continue their vital work. Here are a few ways you can make a difference:

  • Volunteer: Offer your time and skills to support the day-to-day operations of the wildlife hospital. Volunteers are integral to the smooth functioning of organisations like Brent Lodge, whether it's assisting with animal care, fundraising efforts, or administrative tasks.

  • Donations: Every contribution, no matter how small, can have a significant impact on the well-being of wildlife. Consider making a financial donation to help cover the costs of medical supplies, food, and the upkeep of facilities. Alternatively, explore the option of becoming a regular donor to provide ongoing support.

  • Fundraising: Organise or participate in fundraising events to generate awareness and funds for the charity. From sponsored runs to bake sales, there are numerous creative ways to raise money and engage the local community in supporting the cause.

  • Spread the Word: Utilise the power of social media and personal networks to share Brent Lodge's mission, success stories, and ongoing campaigns. By raising awareness, you can encourage others to get involved and support this vital cause.

Brent lodge wildlife hospital green animal patient recovery shed, in memory of Alice Mason

Small charities like Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital demonstrate the power of individual determination and community support in making a tangible difference. From its humble origins to its present-day accomplishments, the charitable organisation exemplifies the transformative impact that can be achieved through passion, dedication, and the generosity of others. During Small Charities Week, let us unite to support and uplift the incredible organisations that are the lifeblood of our local communities. Together, we can create a brighter future for both wild animals and humans alike.

By Asha Park

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