The Rainbow Rehoming Centre is urging local people to help it realise its plans to move to a new site with a purpose built centre so it can help even more animals in distress.
A fundraising campaign is now under way to raise the estimated £250,000 needed to relocate the entire operation to a new three to four acres plot of land.
Spokesperson, Anna Hyndman, said the move will take Rainbow, which was founded in 1997, onto the next level.
Ms. Hyndman said a site had yet to be identified as they were attempting to get the funding in place first.
“We believe we need to raise £250,000 to secure the right site but any surplus from the purchase of the site will go back into the development of the new Centre on that site,” she added.
“We have done research and have met with teams from the Dogs Trust, Cats Protection, Mid-Antrim Animal Sanctuary and Assissi Animal Sanctuary (Co. Down) to see what works for them and what doesn’t.
“We know exactly what we want. We want dog pens and cat pens and home-from-home pens, facilities that are great for animals that may bestressed.
“We are also planning to have a puppy unit; a kitten unit and a unit for ‘Old Age Pensioner’ animals so that they can be placed away from the madding crowd. We are hoping to have a nursing dog and cat unit for pups and kittens and mothers as we don’t have facilties for them currently.
“We want an excerise yard inside and outside; a veterinary room; groom room and volunteer hubs where we can train people up. We are hoping whenever the new Centre is up and running to introduce Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Pope John Paul II and the President’s Awards. We just need the right facilities.”
Rainbow is currently using a leased site at Ballygudden Road, facilites which have served the charity well down the years.
“Thousands of animals have been rehomed, but the reality is the waiting lists are getting longer. There is more need for rescue now than there was all those years ago. We need to get bigger because the animals need us. We cannot do any more with the site we are on. It’s basically a site which has outgrown itself.”
The Rainbow Rehoming Centre is now dealing with more complex cases, dogs with behavioural issues such as Collies.
Anna continued: “Collies have high energy and would benefit so much from an exercise yard. We don’t pick and choose, we take whatever animals need our help. We can’t have them living on top of one another, so we require quite a big faclity.
“We are also hoping to remain within or around the Eglinton area where Rainbow has always been based, first at Whitehill Road and then moving to the Ballygudden Road site in 1999. However, if the right site becomes available in a different area we would think about moving. It has to be easy access for people and volunteers and not in a built up area. We desperately need a new site to give the animals of the north west a secure future.”
Appealing to the public to get behind the new appeal, Anna said: “We would love local people, community groups, schools, youth clubs, businesses to do their own fundraising and to generate their own ideas and we will try to support them as best as we can.
“This would mean a new start for Rainbow and after all the good work over the past 21 years it is going to go to another level. We would be able to help twice as many dogs and more cats.
“We are urging anyone who can help us, in any way, to get in touch. There could be someone out there who may have land or who even has a fundraising idea.”
Anyone who can help is urged to contact Rainbow on 028 71812882, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Rainbow Rehoming Centre Facebook page.