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Education speakers learn a lot on visit to National Cat Centre ...

17 October 2017
Education speakers learn a lot on visit to National Cat Centre ...

Three North Birmingham ‘volunteer cat educators’ joined a dozen or so others from around the region for a meet-up at the National Cat Centre (NCC) in Haywards Heath in mid-October.

Community Education Officer for Wales and Central England, Kelly Matthews, invited the volunteers with the aim of displaying and explaining ‘all the latest resources’ available to enhance their presentations to spread the cat care messages to all and sundry – especially in schools, colleges and libraries.

Those who went along from the North Birmingham branch were volunteers Pam Wood, Sheila Pennell and the newest recruit to the education team, Sarah Walling.

Says Pam, who is volunteer education speaker team leader with North Birmingham: “It was a wonderful and very worthwhile two days.  Not only did we enjoy tours of the pens and met all the adorable inmates, but we saw donkeys and Hebridean sheep too. And as well as Kelly offering all sorts of resources for our talks, we had some interesting and informative presentations from Nicky Trevorrow, Behaviour Manager, Gemma Croker, Social Media Manager, Sally Meredith, Regional Media Officer, Paula Hackett, Volunteering Best Practice Manager, and Richard Clare, Advocacy and Government Relations Officer.”

Sheila, who is a fosterer as well as a speaker, confirms for her it was a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience to visit the National Centre and meet everyone. “We were well looked-after and catered for too – with lunch, evening meal, and an overnight hotel stay where we could meet up and socialise. We speakers really got to know one another, and plan to stay in touch and share good practice and experiences. As a journalist, I particularly appreciated the input we had from Sally Meredith, and her guidance as to how to get our cat news, stories and various appeals through to the Press.”

Media-savvy Sally, Regional Media Officer, added: “We love meeting our volunteers. We are here to support all of them and it’s great to have the opportunity to explain what we do and how we can help. It was the first time I’d given a presentation to education speakers and they were very responsive and asked some interesting questions.”

Meika Sunnucks of the BSU (Branch Support Unit) and Kelly organised the event and sorted out trains and the itinerary. Kelly was ‘delighted it had gone so well’.  “My final message was that all our education volunteer speakers are amazing to give up their time to take on this demanding role. Talks are 15% up this year on last, so paws crossed that everyone has left enthused and keen to spread the cat care message as far and wide as possible.”

** Whether you are linked-up with a school, library, Brownies, Guides, WI, U3A, Probus or any  friendship group or club, a Cats Protection education speaker will be happy to discuss a talk, presentation or workshop tailored to suit. Call the helpline and ‘request a talk’ – 0345 260 1503 – and a volunteer will call you back.