Wadars: rescuing and rehoming animals across Worthing and beyond for 50 years

Billy Elliot, a Wadars stalwart
Billy Elliot, a Wadars stalwart

Staff at Wadars animal rescue have good reason to be looking forward to the year ahead – the charity is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019.

Wadars, previously known as Worthing and District Animal Rescue Service, was founded in 1969, and from small beginnings has developed over the years to provide a rescue service for many thousands of birds and wild animals, as well as a rehoming service for companion animals.

Wadars animal rescue officer Julie Brewer

Wadars animal rescue officer Julie Brewer

To mark the anniversary, the Herald & Gazette has teamed up with Wadars to help spread the word about its work – and a number of articles will be published so readers can find out more.

The charity’s fleet of animal ambulances are a frequent sight across an area from Southwick in the east to Barnham in the west, and inland as far as Pulborough.

The team of Wadars animal rescue officers respond to calls from the public about a wide range of concerns, including sick, injured and orphaned birds and wildlife.

During the summer months, they can be called out to hundreds of young gulls which have either fallen from roof tops or been injured in some way.

Walk for Wadars entrants

Walk for Wadars entrants

Until four years ago, the charity did not have its own site, meaning that animals in its care were looked after at commercial kennels, catteries and volunteer fosterers.

Wadars is now based on a 15-acre site at the foot of Highdown Hill, Ferring, and after a period of planning and development, will be opening its brand-new rehoming cattery and wildlife unit later this month.

Wadars operations manager Tracy Cadman said: “Everyone at Wadars is extremely excited about the cattery and wildlife unit. It’s taken a while to get to this point but being able to care for our own animals is a massive step forward for the charity.

“Opening the two units at the start of our 50th anniversary year is the icing on the cake.”

The new Wadars cattery on day one of construction

The new Wadars cattery on day one of construction

The new cattery is more than 35 metres long and each pen consists of a bedroom area leading to an enclosed run. Pens are individually heated, and the bedrooms can be closed off from the runs during periods of cold weather.

Several pens also have lift-out sections, which mean that two can be linked together to accommodate larger groups of cats if they have come from the same home, whilst others have low level ‘stable-doors’ enabling staff to step into the pen without kittens escaping into the corridor.

The cattery will be a temporary home to felines like Maisie, pictured.

Tracy said: “Maisie is looking for a new home because she wasn’t happy living with another cat.

The new Wadars cattery

The new Wadars cattery

“She hasn’t been used to being around children or dogs, and is probably best suited to an adult-only home as she likes to have her own space.”

The facility will enable Wadars to accommodate and rehome a far greater number of cats, while more volunteer cat socialisers can come on board to help nervous settlers.

Tracy said: “We are extremely grateful to the staff at the cattery where our cats have been looked after for a number of years.

“They do an amazing job and always go above and beyond for our animals, helping with the intake and rehoming as well as their day to day care. Without their support we couldn’t have run our cat rehoming service in the way that we have.”

The new wildlife unit has been developed in response to a desperate need for more rehabilitation space for sick, injured and orphaned birds and wildlife in the area.

Wadars works closely with local vets and other wildlife units to provide the best outcome for casualties, but space is limited, meaning that some have to be transported further afield.

Wadars animal rescue officer Elaine Sinclair with a hedgehog SUS-180919-164807001

Wadars animal rescue officer Elaine Sinclair with a hedgehog SUS-180919-164807001

The unit will be able to accommodate hedgehogs, birds, and other small mammals. The charity has recruited a team of volunteers to help, who will be starting later this month.

The next phase of development at the Wadars site will include the construction of a large aviary in which to house the many juvenile gulls that the charity rescues.

But despite the extensive new facilities, more could be done if funding allowed, including building kennels, an education room, veterinary room, and even larger wildlife unit.

Volunteer co-ordinator Sophia Wilks is keen to get behind the 50th anniversary and events and activities are being planned to fundraise, including the five-mile Walk for Wadars event in May.

Sophia is also hoping to recruit people to become volunteer home checkers.

Wadars goes out to meet all prospective adopters in their own homes before placing animals with them, and also carries out follow up visits a few weeks after adoption to check that the animal is settling. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer home checker should contact Wadars on 01903 247111 for an application form or download one from the Volunteering page on the Wadars website.