Animal loving customers at the Heart of England Co-operative Society help swell the coffers of Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary

Geoff Grewcock with Jo Dyke, Community and Membership Adviser at the Heart of England Co-operative Society.


Monday, November 27, 2017

When Geoff Grewcock gave up his career as a Securicor officer to pursue his passion of working with animals, little could he have imagined how his life would pan out.

But 16 years and 39,000 rescued animals and birds later, he and his daughter Emma are widely recognised by the police, fire crews and the people of Nuneaton and the wider community as the fourth emergency service.

In fact he is held in such high regard that his animal sanctuary – the Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, which still operates out of his home in Oaston Road, Nuneaton – was voted for by customers at the Heart of England Co-operative Society to receive £5,000 from the Society’s purse.

What initially started as a hobby for Geoff is now widely regarded by Nuneaton residents and the emergency services alike as a vital service to the community.

Working for up to 20 hours a day in the summer and 18 hours a day in the winter Geoff is on call 24-7, 365 days a year.

He regularly finds himself called upon by the police and fire crews. Such instances can range from congestion on motorways with lost swans bringing traffic to a standstill, to incidents where pet owners have passed away and their animals need rehoming.

With more than 2,500 animals rescued just in the first nine months of this year alone, 2017 is proving to be the sanctuary’s busiest year by far.

So the money awarded by the Heart of England Co-operative Society, on the back of the customers’ votes, came as a welcome boost.

Geoff, who can house up to 200 animals at any one time and needs to find £29,000 a year to keep the sanctuary open, said: “Since 2001 I have taken this role unpaid and voluntarily. Every penny of donations goes to housing, feeding and treating the animals when they need veterinary care. In the mean time Emma and I are live totally off compensation claims. Of course there are real hazards in the job, working with animals.

“The people of Nuneaton have been fantastic to us. To have them vote for us to receive £5,000 from the Heart of England Co-op is brilliant. It has taken a lot of pressure off us and helped put us ahead in terms of the money we need to find over the next 12 months.”

Geoff added: “I love what I’m doing, but obviously there are a lot of people out there who also love what I’m doing and they rate me! It’s a real honour and I’m so grateful to all those who voted, for giving the animals their support.”

With the second highest number of votes in Nuneaton, Doorway, which works with young homeless people, will receive £3,000, while the remaining £2,000 will go to Barnado’s.

Across the Society’s trading area of Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire the retailer gave a total £50,000 to 15 charities in this latest round.

The Society is among retailers across Britain which introduced the levy of 5p for single-use carrier bags in October 2015.

Government statistics show that in 2014 major supermarkets in England handed more than 7.5 billion single use bags to customers – equating to 61,000 tonnes or 140 bags per person.

Research showed the average household contained some 40 plastic bags around the home and the number of carrier bags taken from supermarkets increased year on year in the five years to 2014.

As well as the environmental benefits the government believes the levy will benefit the economy by up to £780 million over the next 10 years – with up to £730 million raised in aid of good causes, £60 million in clean-up costs and carbon savings of £13 million.

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