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Crawley animal sanctuary at ‘breaking point’ due to rising costs

Photo credit: Lola’s Sanctuary/Facebook | BBC
Poonam Doshi, who opened the sanctuary in 2017, said she had seen a huge spike in demand.

An animal sanctuary is “at breaking point” and on the brink of closure due to the cost of living crisis.

Lola’s Sanctuary has not received a new donation in four months, yet is seeing more animals than ever in need of care.

Poonam Doshi, the founder, said she had “never seen the situation this bad”.

The shelter’s utility bills have doubled, and Ms Doshi expects they will increase further during the winter when the animals need to spend more time indoors.

The sanctuary’s vet bills are up to £5,000 per month.

Photo credit: Lola’s Sanctuary/Facebook | BBC

Ms Doshi said: “Not knowing where the next donation is going to come from, or whether it is actually going to come has meant that I have had to make some incredibly difficult decisions on what animals we can care for.

“We simply cannot afford to continue without donations. We are at breaking point.”

The sanctuary, based in Crawley, is 100% non-profit and relies on volunteers to keep it running.

With people having to go back to paid work, the team of volunteers has decreased from 15 to five and fosterers have gone down from 12 to just one.

The cost of food, pet insurance and vet bills has meant shelters are struggling to cope with a rise in admissions as owners can no longer afford to keep their pets.

Ms Doshi said: “It is an absolutely heartbreaking situation, a lot of these people don’t want to give up their pet but it’s a choice between being able to feed their family, heat their home or give up their animal.

“For some people, especially older people, their companion animal is their only friend so the fact that they are being forced to surrender their pets just so they can stay warm this winter is just devastating.”

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Local community champions honoured

Volunteers and community champions from across Sussex and Surrey have been honoured at a BBC awards ceremony.

The ‘Make a Difference’ awards celebrate the contributions made by carers, fundraisers, key workers and charities.

Photo credit: BBC
The winners were presented with their awards at a ceremony.

Among the winners were a 90-year-old who has raised over a quarter of a million pounds, and a choir for people with communication difficulties.

Winner Shirley Price MBE said: “When I saw the other people I thought, ‘well, they definitely will get it.’
“It came as a total out of the blue shock.”

Ms Price, who won in the Fundraiser category did a wing walk at the age of 75, a parachute jump at 80 and a paraglide at 85.
She is now planning another wing walk when she reaches 91 and a half, which would make her the oldest woman in the world to have done so.

The winners were:

Volunteer: Penny Kirk from Oxted, who runs two not-for-profit playgroups, and has also collected and distributed donations for Ukrainian refugees

Community Group: Sonal Sher, who set up Knaphill, St John’s and Brookwood Volunteers in Woking in March 2020, a group of 200 people who run errands and collect charity donations

Fundraiser: Shirley Price MBE, who is 90, has raised over £250,000 for East Sussex Vision Support, including doing a parachute jump, wing walk and hang gliding over Mont Blanc

Carer: Jason Brown, a school office worker, for going above and beyond to help pupils who have type 1 diabetes take an active role in school life

Great Neighbour: Sue Goodall, a supermarket worker from Wick, near Littlehampton, who delivered groceries to elderly customers during lockdown, snacks to paramedics and charity donations to Ukrainian refugees living in the area

Key Worker: Louise Miller, a specialist case worker at the women’s substance misuse charity Oasis Project in Brighton, who took on personal caseloads of up to 70 people at a time, as demand rocketed during lockdown

Environmental Award: The Surrey Choices Growth Team, 16 supported volunteers with autism or learning disabilities, who help preserve the county’s pathways, woodlands and other habitats

Together Award: The Include Choir from Surrey, a choir for people with communication and understanding difficulties

Alix Lewer, the speech and language specialist who set up the Include Choir, said it had been “a long journey and it’s been not the easiest.

“To see the recognition of how much people with communication difficulties can give to the community and that recognition that we are all the same, even if we need a bit of help with a communication, it means a huge amount to me.
“We use Makaton signing and the sign for together is the same as include, so it seems very fitting.”

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Sussex Cricket’s head coach replaced

Sussex say head coach Ian Salisbury is currently “not part of the business”, having not taken charge of the first team since mid-August.

Salisbury, the first-class and 50-over coach, has been replaced by T20 boss James Kirtley.

Photo credit: BBC/GETTY IMAGES
Ian Salisbury (second from right) played 15 Tests and four one-day internationals for England

It is understood the 52-year-old has been placed on gardening leave over the handling of off-spinner Jack Carson.

Sussex are set to finish second-bottom of Division Two in the County Championship.

Carson, 21, is highly rated and seen as an England prospect. Born in Northern Ireland, he qualified to play for England two years ago.

He has been on the sidelines for most of the season after undergoing knee surgery, but has also been the subject of a non-cricketing disagreement with Salisbury.

Since Salisbury has been removed from the first team, Carson has made his return and played three matches in the Championship.

Sussex would not discuss the nature of Salisbury’s absence, other than to confirm he is not currently working at the club.

Salisbury and Kirtley, both former England internationals, were given the split responsibilities as head coaches at Hove at the end of 2020.

Kirtley took over from Salisbury during the One-Day Cup, in which Sussex finished top of Group A, only to lose to Lancashire in the semi-finals.

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Image released after man exposed himself to teenager

Police investigating an incident of exposure on a Gatwick to Hitchin train have released an image of a man who they wish to speak to.

Image: British Transport Police

The alleged incident is said to have taken place on Saturday 27th August where a man exposed himself inappropriately to a 14-year-old girl.

The victim’s mother confronted the man, who then got up and walked away. Officers believe the man in the image may have information which could help their investigation.

If you are able to assist the police with their enquiries, you’re asked to contact them on 101.

If you have news for Sussex and Surrey, contact us on [email protected]

Tandridge Annual Canvass

Tandridge residents should have by now received a request from the council, asking them to check the right people are on the Electoral Register and able to vote.

The next local elections will be held in May and the council are working on a program known as the Annual Canvass, to ensure all those who are eligible can have their say.

They say that not everyone has yet responded to their confirmation request, which may be followed up by a phone call or email. If you think you may have missed out, then more details can be found on the council’s website at

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