Hedgehogs from across Teesside are facing a brighter future thanks to a partnership project between Thirteen housing and Hoggy Stockton Hogspital.
The community wildlife organisation based in Stockton’s Primrose Hill has been in need of space to help deal with an increasing number of the spiny creatures who need a little human help. Thirteen has now stepped in to provide a new outbuilding that will act as a hedgehog infirmary to help get them back onto their paws.
To mark the occasion, Thirteen has also gained an unofficial mascot after one of the little hoglets was named after the housing organisation. Called Thyrtene, the young male was brought to the “hogspital” to receive treatment and is being weaned, so he will be among the first to go into the new facility when he reaches the correct weight and is healthy enough for release.
Anne Purchase-Walker is the founder of Hoggy Stockton Hogspital and has lived in her Thirteen home in Primrose Hill for around six years.
She set up the organisation in 2016 to care for sick and injured hedgehogs and has found that over the years, she needed space to accommodate all her prickly patients.
Anne said: ““People from across the local area bring us hedgehogs that they find in gardens, at the roadside or even in shopping centres. Some are sick or injured while others may not be able to find enough food and are underweight.
“Autumn is when many juvenile hedgehogs are brought into us because they’re poorly and lack the fat reserves to even survive, let along hibernate which they usually do from December until March. While we’d always want them to overwinter in the wild, if they can’t they will stay in the new outbuilding.
“With hedgehogs, as we always say, ‘out in the day, phone straight away’, as it’s likely to be in trouble. So if you see one wandering around the Stockton area during the daylight hours, or looks to be sick or injured, please get in touch.”
The outbuilding has been installed in Anne’s garden and was supplied by Thirteen and Woodcraft UK, with Vision Building Services and colleagues from Thirteen carrying out the groundwork.
Heidi Laverick, neighbourhoods service manager at Thirteen, said: “It’s important that we help our communities to develop and I was happy to get involved in this really worthwhile project.
“Anne and her team are having a positive impact not only for the hedgehogs and the local environment, but also for the people in the community. Residents can get involved by looking out for creatures in the area, bringing them along to the hogspital and even volunteering for the project.”
Hoggy Stockton Hogspital, which now includes the Billingham Centre, has around 1,700 hoggy helpers who volunteer as finders, drivers for vet visits, guardians, delivering talks in schools and workplaces, and foster carers who help to feed up the hedgehogs.
Anne continued: “Heidi was very supportive of our work and I’m really grateful to Thirteen who have supplied the building as it’ll enable us to do more of our conservation work and build more community spirit in our neighbourhood.”
Members of the public are welcome to contact the hogspital to volunteer and next Spring, it will be open for visits.
To find out more, visit facebook.com/HoggyStocktononTees.