A housebuilder has come to the rescue of a local animal sanctuary, to help it baton down the hatches for the winter.

Hilltop Farm, near Espley, North of Morpeth, has already suffered damage to shelters, sheds and fencing during a blustery autumn but Linden Homes – which is building on two sites in nearby Morpeth – has stepped in to handle the repairs.

Dave Brown, Operations Director with the company in the North East, said: “This is a slightly different building project to the ones we are used to but when we heard about the weather damage at the sanctuary, we just knew we had to help.”

A not for profit, registered charity, Hilltop Farm was established by Robin Hills eighteen years ago as a safe haven for injured, abandoned or vulnerable animals. It became a registered charity last year.

Veterinary Nurse Robin and his family devote pretty much all of their spare time to caring for the animals. With over 350 of them – including horses, donkeys, goats, pigs, alpacas, llamas and chickens – that’s no surprise! And with donations thin on the ground, any additional help is most welcome.

Robin says: “Although a registered charity, we are quite tucked away and people are often surprised to hear that we exist! Donations and support – like this fantastic offer from Linden Homes – help us to keep going and free up more of our resources to feed into our ambitious plans.

“Our hope is to bring more businesses and members of the community on board to help develop Hilltop Farm into an educational centre, where school groups and families can come to see and learn about the animals.

“However, to be able to do this, we need to invest in a lot of infrastructure – such as visitor toilets, a classroom and a separate lunch area. We have set up a just giving page to try and raise as much as we can towards these facilities and any donations would be gratefully received.”

Linden Homes is building houses at Saint George and at the Fairways – close to Morpeth Golf Club – and it puts a great importance on working with the community.

The developer has already hosted several events to encourage young people to find out more about careers in construction, while supporting the creation of 12 apprenticeships and 40 work experience placements for local people on the two Morpeth sites.

Linden Homes’ employees have visited schools in the area to talk about site safety and construction skills and have worked with children on class based, building themed projects. In addition, the North East division of the business has raised over £35,000 in the last three years, through charitable events and donations to support good causes – both at home and nationally.

Dave Brown continues: “We’re always keen to support initiatives in the areas in which we build and feel that Hilltop Farm could become a fantastic attraction and educational centre, which will help to fund Robin’s work caring for the animals.

“We’d urge any animal lovers to donate, helping him to develop the sanctuary into a place that can be enjoyed by the wider community.”