A GROUP of volunteers from Nationwide mucked in to help a local animal rescue centre look after a record number of hedgehogs.

Team Mum, a group of working parents from Nationwide’s customer service team in Swindon got involved in helping Oaks and Furrows Wildlife Rescue at Cricklade when they discovered the centre was inundated with helpless hoglets.

The team got together two years ago to highlight how effective flexible workers can be and have been volunteering and fundraising for different charities ever since.

Sharon Woodhouse from Nationwide said “Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre works hard to care for over 3,000 wildlife casualties a year. They were desperate for funds and support, as well as cages for the hedgehogs in crisis.

“Team Mum wanted to use our collective skills to help, so we baked cakes, ran a donations appeal and even spent a day cleaning out 158 cages and providing some desperate hedgehogs with the care they needed.

"We raised £165 and collected enough pet food, bedding, towels and blankets to fill four cars! Together, we felt we’d made a real difference to the prickly patients and would encourage others to get involved.

This year saw over 260 hedgehogs needing shelter which Oaks and Furrows manager John Bennett explained was more than usual.

“We care for the animals that are perhaps too small or ill to go out and hibernate. Normally each winter we have around 100 but this year has been a bumper year for us, so any help we can get is much appreciated.

“The team from Nationwide were fantastic. They weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, helping clean the hedgehog’s cages and learning about how to treat and care for them.”

He added: “They even raised a collection for us, donating food and blankets for the animals. It was an absolute success, everyone was so keen to help out.”

Oak and Furrows is a charity based in Cricklade that works year-round to care for animals that are orphaned, injured or sick with the intention of eventually releasing them back into the wild once rehabilitated for.

Founded in 1994 the charity has grown over the years with nearly 4500 animals treated for in 2017 alone.