About Bleakholt2020-09-24T14:59:08+01:00

About Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary

Caring for those who have no one

About Bleakholt
Animal Sanctuary

Caring for those who have no one

So where did it all begin? It was started by a very kind lady, Olive Lomas, who saved a lucky donkey named Maudie from slaughter. Her hard work and commitment continued thereby saving many horses and in 1957, the Sanctuary at Bleakholt Farm was formed. Running on pennies Bleakholt had a very humble beginning. Despite this, thousands of animals were saved. In 1968 Bleakholt became a registered charity.

Bleakholt continued to develop and grow in size and is now one of the largest of its kind in the North West of England. Spreading over a fifty-five-acre site in Edenfield near Ramsbottom, Lancashire. Bleakholt is under constant development to ensure we are able to provide the very best possible care and welfare for up to 350 animals currently with us.

Our first president was Margaret, Duchess of Argyll. Later on in 2003, Ted Robbins became our President and did a huge amount of fundraising for us. Then in 2016 well known Actress and Bury born Gemma Atkinson, probably best known for her parts in Emmerdale and Hollyoaks, agreed to be our President.  Gemma is a very keen animal lover and used to visit Bleakholt as a child. She has done a lot of fundraising for us and visits on a regular basis.

From dogs and cats to horses and farm animals we really do have a vast array of animals at the Sanctuary. Our vision is ‘For every animal that comes into our care to have the best life possible and the opportunity to be re-homed in a safe, loving environment’.

We believe that every animal deserves a second chance and this means we often take in animals that have health conditions or are elderly. We try and make their stay as close to a home as possible by having special dedicated oldies areas. We continue to support these animals in homes so they have a better chance at finding that special forever home.  This does mean our vets bills are constantly increasing.

On the stables and farm we take animals that are unlikely to be rehomed due to age or illness and provide sanctuary to them for the rest of their lives. We endeavour to give them the very best.

Bleakholt hopes this site will give you an insight in to the Sanctuary and its aims. We also hope it introduces you to a few new friends both of the two-legged and four-legged variety.

Our President

Gemma Atkinson

Animal-loving actress Gemma Atkinson, a past Emmerdale and Hollyoaks favourite, visited the Sanctuary regularly as a child growing up in Bury, so the Sanctuary is close to her heart. Gemma also co-presents the Key 103 Breakfast radio show.

In 2016 she raised a staggering £35,125.00 for Bleakholt after starring on the television game show ‘The Chase’ with a celebrity panel. We were her personal Charity of choice as her team romped home with a slam dunk win! She bagged £25,125 as her share of the winnings and the total was then topped up with a further £10,000 from pet Insurance company and Bleakholt supporters ‘Animal Friends’. The money will go a long way towards modernising and improving our facilities and there are several projects for which we are currently raising funds.

This was not the end of her support either, as Gemma offered to continue to help Bleakholt, so we invited her to step in as our Vice President to work alongside Ted Robbins. We were thrilled to announce that she accepted, saying that she was very flattered and that “it would be an honour to do so”.  As Ted has now stepped down she agreed without a moments hesitation to fill the breach as our President and we welcome her whole-heartedly.

Gemma also led the Bleakholt Team of runners in the Great Manchester 10K Run on 22 May 2016 and has continued to fundraise for Bleakholt

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my cat litter trained?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Almost all cats are naturally litter trained. We recommend using wood based litter.

Will my cat moult?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Cats will moult as the weather becomes warmer and grooming will help keep the cat’s coat healthy.

Will my cat scratch my furniture?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Cats scratch to help keep their claws healthy. A scratching post will help keep your cat from using your furniture.

What type of food should I use?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

We use both wet and dry food of good quality.  The dry food is good for their dental health.  Individual dietary needs are discussed fully at the time of adoption when we will make any appropriate recommendations.

When can I let my cat out?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Usually after 6 to 8 weeks. We recommend you let the cat out before feeding and this way it will come back for food.

What do I need to buy?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

The basics are a cat bed (this makes them feel secure), litter tray, litter, feed and water bowls, food and a cat grooming comb. A cat carrier is important for transporting the cat. They should also have a scratching post and some toys to play with. We do sell cat starter kits in our shop on the Bleakholt site.

How often do I flea and worm?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

This should be done on a regular basis throughout the year, but you should seek veterinary advice for your cat. The cat will be treated before you take it home and the date will have been recorded.

Can I give my cat milk?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Bleakholt does not recommend that you give your cat milk. They should always be provided with fresh water.

Should I register with a Vet?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Bleakholt always recommends that you register your cat immediately with a vet.

Why did the dog come into Bleakholt?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

There are a variety of reasons and every dog will be different. You could discuss this with our staff when you visit us and they will give you all the information you need.

Is it good with children/cats/other dogs?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Again these are very specific to each dog. However in most cases we only have the information supplied by the previous owners, so we may not have all the answers. Of course, in the case of strays we have little or no definitive information. The dog staff will advise you about each individual dog’s known history and can discuss this with you when you visit.

What should I feed my dog if I adopt?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

We use a variety of different foods. The staff will be able to advise on the type of food the dog has been eating at the Sanctuary. We do recommend that you keep it on a similar type of food. If you want to change the food this should be done over a period of time to avoid digestive problems.

How much are they?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

The adoption donation is £150 for a dog, £80 for a cat, rabbits are £45 and £70 if you adopt two rabbits at the same time, Guinea Pigs £20 and Degus £5 each.

Are they vaccinated?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

All rabbits are vaccinated against VHD and myxomatosis.

What do I need?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Our farm staff will advise on a suitable cage size, any accessories and types of food.

Do you make a charge or ask for a donation for adopted animals?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

We ask for an adoption donation of £150 for dogs, £80 for cats, £45 for a rabbit or £70 if you adopt two at the same time, £20 for a guinea pig and £5 for a degu.

This is a donation towards costs and not a purchase.  The actual costs to the Sanctuary per animal are greatly in excess of this.  If you can afford more, then this would be greatly appreciated and you may also like to ‘Gift Aid’ the donation which enables us to claim an extra 25p per pound from the government.  You can download a Gift Aid declaration form here.

What we do for the animals you re-home?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Dogs and cats are all de-flead, wormed, vaccinated, neutered and microchipped. They have a full health check by our vet and will receive any necessary treatment.

Puppies and kittens may not have had their second vaccination when you take them home and if so you will be given a voucher to book an appointment at our vets, who are Vets4Pets in Bury. Also, under six months of age they will not be neutered and we will again give you a vouucher to arrange for this to be carried out at Vets4Pets. Neutering is not optional as it is our policy to neuter all our animals and there is no extra charge for the procedure at Vets4Pets.

All our dogs are assessed for re-homing as this will allow us to help you choose the right dog for your home and family.

Rabbits are also de-flead, wormed, vaccinated and neutered before leaving. You will be given a voucher for very young animals for neutering where appropriate.

We do not neuter Guinea Pigs as routine in the interests of the welfare of the animal.

Do you re-home your horses and ponies?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

We do not rehome our equine animals as they are permanently homed at the sanctuary.

How are you funded?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Bleakholt is entirely funded by public donations. Our annual funding requirement is now approximately £1,600,000. We have no income from national or local authority and no national or parent charity to draw funds from. We rely solely on the goodwill of people such as yourselves to help us to take care of all our animals.

What items do you need donating to the Sanctuary?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Our supporters help us with donations of a wide variety of items.

Animal Food: We can take advantage of most donated animal food.  If for some reason we cannot use it ourselves, we will ensure that other animals in need benefit from your generousity. Fresh vegetables are always welcome for our farm and equine animals.

Bedding:  We have a never-ending need for bedding!  This can be blankets, towels, sheets and other similar materials that we can use to make beds.  We regret that we CANNOT use duvets and pillows etc!

Items For Selling:  We have a tireless team of people who use a number of ways to turn your donated items into cash.  The items we can sell include unwanted gifts, good quality bric-a-brac, household items, books, toys, clean clothing.   If you have any large items please contact the sanctuary first.  Please note that Bleakholt is generally unable to collect donations.

The Items We Cannot Sell:  We are not able to sell old videos or cassette tapes.  Other unsaleable items include electrical items, damaged or incomplete toys, drinking glasses (tumblers etc.).  PLEASE DO NOT BRING ITEMS TO US THAT WE CANNOT SELL AS THE COST OF DISPOSAL CAN BE A MAJOR EXPENSE.  If you are unsure you could give us a ring or email us (info@bleakholt.org) so that we can advise you.  We do thank you for all your support.

Do we ever put an animal to sleep?2015-09-17T00:00:00+01:00

Our policy is that we never put a healthy animal to sleep except on veterinary advice.

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