Top of main content

Up-cycled shipping container boosts Wiltshire wildlife centre

Wednesday 19th August 2020 12:00

Hedgehogs rescued by Oak & Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre

Hedgehogs rescued by Oak & Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre

An up-cycled old shipping container donated by Thames Water has a new purpose helping animals at a Wiltshire wildlife hospital.

The RSPCA North Wiltshire Branch Oak & Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre, which runs entirely on donations, operates a rescue service and cares for injured wild animals, such as deer, owls and dormice before returning them to their local habitats in a fit and healthy condition.  

The wildlife centre was struggling to find the funds to buy a shipping container for much-needed storage facilities, until Thames Water employees stepped in and offered to help. 

The container, which was originally advertised on the company’s internal recycling website as being “free to a good home”, was spotted by Janine Leigh, a Thames Water legal executive, who saw its potential to benefit the Cricklade-based charity. 

Janine, who is also chairman of the North Wiltshire RSPCA, said: “When I saw the shipping container, I knew exactly where it was needed. It’s wonderful we’ve been able to turn something that was unused and unloved into a facility that will free up office space at the centre and help the animals for years to come.” 

The 40ft container, which once housed equipment and machinery at Thames Water’s Basingstoke sewage works, was delivered in July. It has now been up-cycled to store animal food, bedding and medical materials.

Its arrival also means unused animal housing such as hutches, runs and tanks, which were stored outside in a covered area at the centre, can now be stowed inside and protected from wet weather. 

Annually, the wildlife centre takes in over 4,000 wildlife casualties and receives between 6,000 and 7,000 telephone calls for help and advice on orphaned wildlife, fledging’s and hedgehogs. During the coronavirus lockdown the rescue service has continued its important work and is currently painting the container green, so it fits in with its new surroundings. 
Anj Saunders, RSPCA North Wiltshire Branch Oak & Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre administrator, said: “We are so pleased we have somewhere to store all our donated bedding, bulk feed and all our animal housing to keep it away from the elements. 

“We all watched the crane lorry with anticipation as it installed the container and couldn’t wait to start using it! We have built shelving inside and have made use of it straight away following a social media appeal for bedding materials. We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone at Thames Water who made this possible and hope they all appreciate the huge difference it will make to our work.”

Dean Price, Thames Water project engineer, arranged for the shipping container to be moved from Basingstoke sewage works. He added: “If we can safely re-use equipment and give it to a good home, then we’ll do our best to make it happen. At Thames Water we care about the communities and the environment we work in and it’s great to know we can help good causes like Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre.”