Putting animal welfare at the heart of its housing developments, with safe spaces for wildlife alongside new homes for people.
Urban wildlife is under threat, with 60% of bees, birds, bugs and mammals in decline. Barratt Homes has launched a groundbreaking partnership with the RSPB to reverse the trend, with a new approach at one of the firm’s biggest projects.
The development of 2,450 new homes at at Kingsbrook, Aylesbury Vale, will include orchards, tree lined avenues, fruit trees in gardens, bat, owl and swift nesting boxes and nectar-rich planting for bees.
Other features designed to allow wildlife to thrive include newt ponds and hedgehog highways. Hedgehogs roam up to a mile every night in search of food and a mate, and secure fences and walls between gardens are one of the main reasons the hedgehog population is declining in Britain.
The Barratt scheme will include gaps in fences big enough for a hedgehog, but too small for most pets, allowing hedgehogs to move freely between them.
The development will also include 250 acres of wildlife-rich open space, the size of 100 football pitches, accessible to all residents.
Barratt has pledged to incorporate at least some elements of the Kinsgbrook blueprint into all future developments.
Labrador puppy saved the life of a six-year-old girl who was choking to death after suffering a seizure.
Little Olivia Goodman was lying on the sofa at home after being sent home from school with a fever. She started vomiting while lying with her face against a pillow, causing her to choke.
Although her mother was sitting nearby, she did not realise her daughter was in trouble until nine-month-old Baxter raised the alarm.
Mum Amanda said: “My Labrador pup alerted me as soon as it had started, barking at her side adamantly and I shouted at him not to wake her.
“He continued to pace the living room and bark at her and growl at me until he jumped on her, knocking off her covers. Then, I saw she was fitting and the pillow was blocking her airway.”
Olivia was taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
It took her five hours to recover from the six-minute seizure and she was kept in overnight as a precaution.
She has since made a full recovery, and Amanda said: “Olivia owes her life to this puppy.”
Gentle giant has forged a heartwarming bond with a ten-year-old boy, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder that confines him to a wheelchair.
Inspirational campaigner and rescuer set up the National Fox Welfare Society and has devoted his life to fox welfare.
Martin, 51, started a local society in Northamptonshire more than 20 years ago, teaching people about foxes. Word of his expertise spread, and he started getting calls from people around the country who wanted help dealing with injured foxes.
He built a network which became the National Fox Welfare Society. As well as rescuing sick and injured foxes across the UK, the group finds foster families and sanctuary for abandoned and orphaned fox cubs, finds safe release sites for rehabilitated foxes and provides advice and treatment for foxes with sarcoptic mange.
Martin raises money through supporter donations and a membership scheme. He says in one week they can spend up to £1,000 on vet fees and they can send out up to 700 free bottles of mange treatment in one month, all at their own cost.
His aim is to get every fox that is brought into his care back into the wild, but he will always provide sanctuary for those that wouldn’t survive.
He says: “There isn’t always a happy ending, but at least someone tried to help, and that fox was rescued and not left to die at the side of the road.”
Last year he won an award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Philip Mansbridge, UK director of IFAW, said: “Martin’s dedication to foxes has led to thousands of rescues and he is a great example of how to bring people together and reach out to our British wildlife.”
Paul O’Grady’s deep love of animals has its roots in childhood summer holidays to his father’s family farm in Roscommon, in the west of Ireland.
When the young David Shepherd was rejected by the Slade School of Fine Art for having “no talent whatsoever”, he resigned himself to life as a bus driver.
For most of us, a love of animals begins in childhood. This award is to recognise young people who have gone above and beyond expectations to develop a powerful bond with animals, and actively worked to improve their welfare.
For most vets, their job is more than just a profession - it’s a vocation. This award celebrates the dedication and love of animals they share and recognises a vet who has made an outstanding contribution and gone above and beyond what is expected of them.
The only limit to how closely animals can work together with people is the human imagination. All of these Special Recognition finalists started with a brilliant, original idea, put into practice with skill and dedication.
Every year the RSPCA’s dedicated staff and volunteers rescue, rehome and rehabilitate thousands of animals. In 2015 they also investigated more than 140,000 alleged animal cruelty complaints. This award recognises an employee or volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution to that vital work.