Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare
In 1952 Miss Raymond-Hawkins started a rescue centre for animals at her cottage near Ringmer; this has now developed to become Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare. Stephanie Smith, the current CEO of Raystede, gave a talk to Bexhill Rotarians and their partners on the history and current residents of the rescue centre.
The main site spans 43 acres and caters for a wide variety of animals from dogs and cats to horses via all manner of exotics and small furries. There is also a pet crematorium, Peaceways, at a site a short way away from the rescue centre. The main aims of the centre are rescue and rehoming of pets which, for various reasons, become homeless. There are 80 staff and numerous volunteers involved in the centre and they provide education services, veterinary care as well as running a shop and cafe to raise money. The facility is open 7 days a week and welcomes visitors each day.
Stephanie told us that many of the dogs need careful rehabilitation before they are suitable for homing and that a lot of the exotic animals, which include parrots, tortoises and terrapins, are unlikely to ever be re-homed; some due to health issues and some due to legal restrictions. A lot of time is spent trying to find the perfect home for each pet as well s giving residents top class care.
Each day in school holidays the centre welcomes 4-500 visitors free of charge but funding is an ongoing problem and they are soon to open a shop in Lewes which it is hope will help to improve the finances. After a very interesting and informative talk and an invitation to Rotarians to visit Raystede, President Elect Perry presented Staphanie with a donation and thanked her for her talk on behalf or the club.
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