Wigan group raising awareness of the plight of hedgehogs
Aspull Helping Hedgehogs was set up by Tamsin Crothers and Lesley Price after Tamsin found one of the prickly creatures right beside her house.
They started posting on social media and found lots of other residents wanting to help the animals, which have suffered alarming declines in numbers in recent years.
Hundreds of residents now follow the Facebook page and receive tips on what to do if they find a hedgehog out in daylight and information about some of the issues the animals face.
Aspull Helping Hedgehogs also collects donations of fabrics, food and newspapers for rescue charities and tells people how they can make the area more friendly to the spiky little mammals.
Tamsin said: “We really want to raise awareness of what to do if you see a hedgehog and the dangers they face.
"It’s a hard life for hedgehogs and we want to make Aspull safe for them.
“Hedgehogs are nocturnal so if you see one out in the daytime, it’s in trouble.”
Hedgehogs can get trapped in elastic bands discarded by postal workers or in the plastic that holds together packs of canned drinks.
Strimmers can inflict horrific injuries on hibernating hedgehogs and without holes in garden fences allowing them to move from one to another they cannot use vital sources of food.
The population of the creatures made famous to generations of youngsters by Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggywinkle has crashed disastrously in the past few decades, with warnings from conservationists that they could even become extinct in urban areas in the not-too-distant future.
Tamsin and Lesley hold meetings at The One House in Aspull, which also acts as a drop-off point for donations, and have done school assemblies to teach the next generation about looking after native wildlife.
They are also looking to encourage schools and colleges to take part in an accreditation scheme for having hedgehog habitat on site which is being created and have had leaflet stalls at community festivals.
As well as creating holes in the bottom of fences to join up neighbouring gardens, Tamsin and Lesley say one of the best things people can do to help hedgehogs is to put out suitable food and water.
Future ambitions include looking at creating a service of volunteer drivers to take injured creatures to the rescue and rehabilitation facilities they support in Chorley, Westhoughton and Lowton.
They have been supported by ward elected representative Coun Chris Ready and Labour local election candidate for the Aspull New Springs Whelley ward Laura Flynn.
The group is also in talks with Wigan Council about getting an official constitution so the group can become eligible for funding.
Find Aspull Helping Hedgehogs on Facebook to get more information.
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