Have you seen Hope Pastures on twitter? We did and wanted to find out more so Kim Pengelly, the Fundraising & PR Co-ordinator, told us all about it.
What did you do before you got involved with Hope Pastures?
I’ve worked in marketing (for large multi-nationals) all my life, but left to look after my daughter and support her with her eventing (horse trials) in 2009 (having helped her part-time till then). She competed at a high level, so this took up a lot of time, which meant that when she went to university in 2012 I had time to spare. I had fostered a couple of ponies from Hope Pastures as companions for one of our ponies, so I knew about the fantastic work the sanctuary does, and they were looking for someone to help with fundraising. This is absolutely my ideal ‘job’ – using my skills for something worthwhile.
Who or what was the inspiration behind Hope Pastures?
There’s been a sanctuary on the Hope Pastures site for over 40 years now. It was originally established by Phyllis Harvey in 1974. We don’t actually know a lot about her, but there are some details at the bottom of this page on our website.
How long have you been running the sanctuary and who runs it with you/helps you out?
I actually look after the fundraising side of the sanctuary. There are 4 very ‘hands on’ trustees who guide the direction of the sanctuary as well as a very, very committed and hard-working yard manager who organises the day to day care of the animals. We have just 2 full-time members of staff and about 6 part-time members, plus over 100 volunteers (!) The volunteers are key to running the sanctuary. By making use of their generosity in giving their time, we’re able to keep our costs and overheads low, so that for every £1 donated to the sanctuary, 95p is spent directly on the animals. This is a very good ratio and we’re proud of it. For larger charities, this is more like 70p-80p.
What challenges did you face?
Every day is a challenge! And in many different ways!
There’s always the distressing challenge of dealing with animals which are in a terrible condition when they come to us – this is also rewarding, though, when you see their improvement.
Another challenge is having to say ‘no’ to an animal in need. We can take 30 animals at the sanctuary at any time and we’re responsible for over 100, who are now re-homed in loving forever homes. Our aim is always to rescue, rehabilitate and then re-home the ponies if possible, as that means we then have space to rescue another one. Every day we receive between one and five phone calls asking us to take a pony. We have to prioritse these and always keep space for those which are in desperate need. Obviously we can’t take in five ponies a day otherwise we wouldn’t be able to look after the ones we already have, so we have to turn some down. Just because we can’t take them, though, doesn’t mean we don’t try to help them and we work with other sanctuaries to find them homes, sometimes even fundraising for transport to get them to another sanctuary if this is needed.
How did you come up with the name?
The actual name of the charity is the Phyllis Harvey Horse & Donkey Trust. The name of the location is Hope Pastures. We recognised the PHHDT name is too complex and long for general use, so we decided to use the name of the location as our ‘brand’. The concept of hope and fields is very evocative of what we aim to achieve.
In one sentence describe what is the best thing about Hope Pastures?
We use people’s donations in the most effective way to help improve and save animals’ lives.
What’s an average day-in-your-life?
There really isn’t an average day! As I don’t do any of the physical work to look after the animals I do a lot of work from home. This includes applying for funding and grants, managing our website, dealing with enquiries for visits (parties/pony days/experiences etc), running our social media, organising corporate volunteering groups, organising events (eg our Dog Show) – many, many things! I’m defintely a Jack of All Trades.
When I’m at the sanctuary, my time can be taken up with all of the above and I have many hats to juggle, even down to mopping the floor of the visitor centre at the end of a visit!
What do you love most about what you do?
Seeing an animal which was deperately in need and maltreated find a new home with a caring and loving family
If you could do anything else other than what you’re doing now what would it be?
I’d like to help working equines in the developing world, as helping them also helps their families.
What was the last thing someone said to make you smile?
That leaving the EU would result in a plague of locusts attacking the UK! There’s been so many ludicrous and unsubstantiated predictions on both sides that I suspect this is about as likely a result as many ‘official forecasts.’
We have a Patterdale terrier, Pop. She is a lovely, lovely dog and we adore her. We’ve always had collies before, so the terrier is a completely different cup of tea and much more cheeky. We live on a farm (though we only have horse) and she loves to hurtle round outside.
We also still have my daughter’s old event pony, Joker, who is now retired. I’ve been the ‘human’ for many talented individuals, all of whom have been special in their own way, but anyone who knows me also knows my unashamed favourite will always be Joker – the pony who kept my daughter completely safe and took her from her first Pony Club events aged only 11 to competing 2* (and winning) and being long-listed for the Pony Europeans. A hugely talented, giving pony – one of the best XC ponies in GB in his day, yet so down to earth and easy to look after. A gritty, determined little beast who came back from career-ending injury to spend 2012 helping another little girl with her confidence and even eventing again. One in a billion – I am honoured to know him.
and finally, what do you do to relax?
I poo pick the fields! It’s repetitive and very therapeutic and it’s a chance to be outside with the ponies.
Thank you to Kim for a great insight into you and your work for Hope Pastures. Definitely a cause that Ruffle Snuffle Recommends!
The Phyllis Harvey Horse and Donkey Trust (Reg Charity No: 504003)