Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Local not-for-profit rescue service Kindly Animal Sanctuary has a variety of vital projects planned this year, but they need you!

The 350-acre sanctuary is currently home to more that 200 rescue animals, many of whom were saved from death row, but they need support to be able to continue their hard work. Kicking off with a koala tree planting session this Saturday, and a fundraiser on April 10, they are seeking both volunteer time and donations to support the service.

Sanctuary manager Naomi Hooper has worked with animals her whole life, gaining a special affinity with them as a child.

“I grew up with domestic violence, my childhood was unpleasant, and I learnt very early on that I could often rely on animals where I couldn’t rely on people,” said Ms Hooper.

From here her deep connection with animals has only grown, with her devoting her time, money, and property to care for native, domestic and farm animals when others cannot or will not look after them. But she says the issue is only getting worse.

“Ever since our last round of drought and bushfires, I’m just getting inundated with animals. For many people pets have just become disposable,” said Ms Hooper.

Ms Hooper managers Kindly on her own, with assistance from family, donors, and volunteers, including working with youth rehabilitation programs like Juvenile Justice and Pathfinders.

The next project on the list for Kindly is tree planting, which they’ll be undertaking with the help of the community this Saturday 23 March from 9am.

“This Saturday we’re working on planting 7500 koala friendly trees in conjunction with the Armidale Tree Group. This has been made possible due to a government grant and it will allow us to fill a 40-acre gap between two woodlands areas on the property to make it easier for koalas to cross between the two,” said Ms Hooper.

“So far, we have about 20 registered volunteers, but we need at least 50 – the ground is already prepared for planting, but we also need people to help with placing trees, making tree guards, putting in bamboo stakes and watering. Any help you can offer is amazing!”

From here, Ms Hooper will be turning her attention to the next big, and very important step for the Sanctuary – a permanent barn structure at the front of the property so they can hold open days.

“We used to hold regular open days, but it got too hard with insurance and having to move the animals around.”

“If we can build a permanent barn structure, we’ll be able to have all the animals that love human interaction in one place and we’ll be able to start hosting school and aged care groups and tourists again,” said Ms Hooper.

“A barn will be lifechanging for the Sanctuary and we really need this in place by winter.”

Ms Hooper said that she has just about gathered enough recycled materials to be able to build the shed but needs a lot of help to bring it all together, openly welcoming anyone, including local builders or business groups who may be able to provide assistance.

All Kindly’s funding currently comes from donations, fundraising efforts like Bunning’s sausage sizzles, and regular raffles through the charity fundraising site Play for Purpose.

In what will hopefully prove a great boon to the Sanctuary, they have also been offered a partnership through Dominos Armidale and Armidale East via their “Doughraiser” appeals.

On Wednesday 10 April, all pizzas purchased from either store in between the hours of 3pm and 9pm will raise $1 per pizza for Kindly Sanctuary.

In a statement issued by Dominos, local franchise owner Nathan Desfosses said, “I believe it’s incredibly important to support the local community, so when I heard about Kindly Animal Sanctuary’s impact, my team and I were eager to offer our support.”

“Kindly Animal Sanctuary provides a haven for rescued animals, offering a refuge from domestic violence situations, people experiencing homelessness, natural disasters, neglect and other hardships…I am so passionate about supporting this cause.”

In the meantime, Ms Hooper will just keep on working closely with local pounds and animal welfare to try and help as many animals as she possibly can.

“Sanctuary life isn’t easy, but it’s also very hard to say no – if I don’t help these animals, no one will,” said Ms Hooper. For more information about Kindly Animal Sanctuary, to register to volunteer at Saturday’s tree planting, or to offer assistance in other ways, please visit their Facebook page or website.

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