Our chosen charity of the year: Oak Tree Animals' Charity
We are delighted to have chosen local charity, Oak Tree Animals’ Charity, as our charity of the year for 2021. As a pet-friendly development, we understand the important role animals have in people’s lives, including those of our residents, and we are delighted to have the chance to contribute to supporting their welfare. We have previously worked with Oak Tree Animals’ Charity in the past through a range of concerts and events we have held at Scalesceugh Hall, and we are delighted to once again have the opportunity to work together and support the fantastic work they do within the heart of our local community. Located at Oak Tree Farm, less than five miles from Scalesceugh Hall & Villas, the charity provides a safe place for all animals in their time of need. The team at Oak Tree seek to rehome dogs, cats, and equines and work to support good, long-term healthy relationships between animals and their owners out in the community. Founded in 1909 by Francis Cox, who campaigned for better working conditions for pit ponies and other working horses, the charity has now grown to provide a home for equines and goats. It’s also a safe haven for abandoned or relinquished dogs and cats who are awaiting new homes through the charity’s Adoption Programme. Every year Oak Tree takes in hundreds of animals and gives them a second chance. The charity rehabilitates animals, but also prepares potential owners for life with a new companion and offers the help and support necessary for both animal and owner to live a long and happy life together. The team at Oak Tree speak to schools, community groups and colleges about animal welfare and offer advice on working with animals in the future, investing in our younger generations and providing them with the knowledge they need to help animals in the long term. Like Oak Tree, Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for charities as many have struggled to support their fundraising efforts due to the lack of footfall across the country and an inability to host regular in-person events and activities they regularly rely on to drive donations. As a result, charities have had to turn digital and focus their efforts on generating donations through online campaigns and events. We spoke with Fundraising Events Coordinator at Oak Tree Animals' Charity, Mieke Tennant, to tell us about the charity’s experiences during the pandemic and how they adapted their fundraising activities to ensure they continued to receive support and encourage donations throughout this challenging past year. Mieke explains: “Our tearoom, site and charity shops had to close with lockdown, and to conserve funds many of our team needed to go on furlough. Obviously, all our events and other fundraising activities had to be moved online.” “Our supporters have been amazing though. They stepped up, spontaneously, with generous donations, they took part in the online events we organised instead of our popular fairs and shows, they organised individual fundraising activities and they kept us motivated by sending lovely messages of support and gifts for the animals. When our boiler broke down midwinter, an emergency appeal raised over £12,000 in less than a week and we were able to replace it!” “In spite of all the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic over the past year, we were able to help 2,807 animals in 2020 through our community and rehoming programmes, and in 2021 we continue to make sure every case we help has the best possible outcome for both animal and owner. We worked together with foodbanks, providing pet food parcels, we helped with emergency fostering services for pet owners fleeing difficult situations, and we provided veterinary or neutering support.” Following the easing of lockdown restrictions last month, the team at Oak Tree are delighted to have the majority of facilities at their site open, allowing them to once again invite guests to find out more about their fantastic work and interact with the various animals they look after. Mieke explains: “Our site and shops have now re-opened as of 12th April. Our tearoom, main site shop and reception area have undergone a fabulous makeover and we cannot wait for you to feast your eyes. From the 17th May you can sit inside again, and until then we have our tables set up outside and in our marquee.” “In other exciting news, you can now come and say hello to donkeys Charlie and Pringle, Oak Tree's wonderful new residents! These boys have settled in very nicely after their journey from The Donkey Sanctuary, and as part of an exciting new partnership!” “Charlie and Pringle are retired 'assisted therapy donkeys' but their careers are not over yet. As part of the new partnership, regional officers from The Donkey Sanctuary will come to our site and work with Charlie and Pringle to facilitate training for potential future donkey adopters.” Everyone at Scalesceugh Hall & Villas are thrilled to have the opportunity to support a local charity which does so much great work within the local community and further afield. The team at Oak Tree are equally looking forward to working with us on various fundraising projects over the next few months. Mieke, from Oak Tree, comments: "We are delighted that Scalesceugh Hall & Villas have chosen us as their charity of the year, and we are looking forward to working together in many areas. Previously, we have organised and been involved in concerts on their beautiful grounds, and we cannot wait to be able to have more of them as lockdown restrictions continue to be lifted.” “We are also very excited that our Community Team are going to work with the Scalesceugh residents on several ways to support animal welfare." We are hosting our first event of the year in support of Oak Tree Animals’ Charity this Friday 21st & Saturday 22nd May. Safely held outside on our lawns, guests attending our Garden Party Open Weekend will have the chance to enjoy live music, afternoon tea and a glass of fizz, as well as take part in our charity raffle which raises money for another local charity, Annie Mawson's Sunbeams Music Trust, alongside Oak Tree Animals’ Charity. Guests at our event will also have the opportunity to chat with our friendly staff and view our range of remaining apartments and final villa for sale, and find out more about the lifestyle they could be living at our development. Attendance is safely by appointment only. You can find out more and book your place here or by calling us on 07853 190765. To find out more about Oak Tree Animals’ Charity, visit their website here.