Animal Care Assistant, Gilly Prime, aka ‘Person Most Guaranteed to put a smile on your face’ as voted by staff and volunteers 2021, tells us what it has been like for her the first two years of centre life.

I know its a cliché but, where the fluff has the last two years gone? We all appreciate that the norty Covid malarky has played a large part for the past 15 months. Team M&S didn’t let something like a global pandemic stop them in their tracks, oh no! Of course whilst following all Government Guidelines. Anyhow, I think the ‘Rona’ has had enough air borne time already and you want to read about animals.

Where do you even begin trying to summerise everything Team M&S and our amazing supporters and volunteers have achieved, and also do it justice, in the past few years alone?

So here goes, are you sitting comfortably…….. maybe with a cat splodged on your lap/keyboard, kittens swinging from your curtains, a bunny nudging you for more strokes or piggies wheeking as they’re hungry yet again?

Let’s go back to June 2019, the collective excitement of branch M&S finally having its own dream space for animals just got real. With a hell of a lot of wand waving from our Fairy God Mother/General Manager, Susie, it actually happened!!! I for one never imagined I’d spend hours being besties with ‘Harry the hoover’, helping to get our new place all ready for the off! I’ve always thought the branch was pretty awesome, especially with its reputation for rabbit knowledge and welfare activities within the community. Nonetheless, once ‘Unit 2’ landed and the housing of all M&S animals could be under the one beautifully converted warehouse roof well, WOW!

‘Helping’ in the office

For me, becoming an Animal Care Assistant for the branch was the best job in the world. Yes, you ache from the physical demands, yes you get upset and attached to oh so many animals and yes there aren’t enough hours in the day but boy am I lucky. I’m blessed to be part of the bigger picture, meeting new amazing volunteers, being able to have a good giggle in the workplace, working alongside others who understand rescue and share that passion of caring for animals until they go onto their forever homes.

For those who know/tolerate me, I’m a bit rubbish with cats, in that, what do you do around them? How do you pick them up properly? Why have they  sussed me out within seconds? Whilst we were in the early throws of starting out and had only just opened up to animal admissions, it was my job to get stuck in with the daily cleaning of the cats. Within a couple of days, I knew my cat poo score chart very well! It also gave me true empathy for anyone trying to clean out a pen with kittens launching themselves onto you and hanging off your scrubs! 

How to become a human cat activity centre, help out in the cattery!

You may be surprised to know that Susie, Mrs H, hadn’t already filled every pen and surrounding space possible with rabbits even before the Unit doors opened to admissions. For a very, very brief period (few days?) we started off with just the one bunny, Amos. This now infamous gorgeous lad struck utter gold with a truly wonderful bunny mum, he is living his best life alongside a lady bun (her name is Lola, she’s not a showgirl though). Fast forward a couple of years and if you’ve ever seen ‘that’ episode of Father Ted, then this is what our Unit proudly now boasts! We are also temporary homes to all kinds of other ‘smalls’, you name it, they have resided upstairs. Rats, hamsters, whiffy mice and I’m sure you’ve all heard when there are piggies in too, wheeking the minute you breathe downstairs!!!

Amos helping himself to tea!

I imagine you would all like some fun facts and figures by this point, so here goes.

  • Number of animals admitted – absolutely loads
  • Number of animals rehomed – an incredible amount
  • Number of scrubs cleaned daily – a huge quantity
  • Number of rings at the backdoor – a great deal
  • Number of rabbits in the building – an abundance, but those babies!!!!
  • Number of lovely treats scoffed to keep us all going – we don’t judge
  • Number of foster carers who adopted their foster animal – no one is ever counting
Lots of babies means lots of weigh ins!

Our Fairy God Mother/General Manager Susie keeps ‘Unit 2’ running like a well-oiled, clean and tidy machine! She has very high, exacting standards and this won’t, ever waver under her watch. I for one never underestimate how much hard work goes into achieving what we do to help animals in need.

Susie our Head ‘Bunny hugger!’

We are always grateful for all donations we receive and every minute of help from our volunteers. We honestly could not do, and continue to do, what we do without all of this collective effort.

So, here’s to the next two years eh, minus a global pandemic though thank you. I’ll leave you with some wise words from those well know DJ’s, Smashie & Nicey……We all do a lot of good work for charity.

WE ROCK!!!

On behalf of every four-legged creature that has come through our back door, thank you to each and every one of you who make this happen.

The impact of what we all do for these precious animals, I feel, is insurmountable. Branch M&S really does make a difference to all of these lives. It really is all go at Unit 2!

Gilly x

How can you help? Here are a few ideas!

Donate online to the running of the centre and care of our animals

Buy a gift for one of the animals in our care via our Amazon Wishlist

Shop online at our Chapter Six online charity shop

Shop in person at any of our 5 shops in Chorlton, Didsbury, Urmston, NQ, Withington

Drop off your quality unwanted items ie. clothing, bric a brac, games, jewellery at the shops

Save your used newspapers and old towels so we can use them at the centre!

Make a donation The Wishlist