It's been an incredibly busy time at Nibbles over the last couple of months. With summer coming to an end, I've been desperate to get a number of jobs completed before the autumn and winter weather hits us and I'm forced to down tools. At present it looks like the weather has won the race and the forecast for the next 10 days looks terrible. We probably need another week of dry weather to get finished, so please help wish the shine to Wales just for a little longer.
Our biggest goal this summer has been to prepare the remaining space for our new housing to go up next year. I won't lie, it's been an awful job, with over 300 paving slabs to get down. I've also added some additional paving at the bottom end in front of our rodent cabin and releveled a walkway which had been excavated by moles. In addition, the base for a large storage shed was also put down allowing us to store hay in bulk and other items needed by the rescue. I've made a start on concreting the edges but sadly the bad weather has beaten me and we are now only able to work on dry days. All in it has taken a long time to get this far and it's been back breaking work. A huge thank you to Evelyn, Clare and Neil who have helped me get this far. Without them I'd still be trying to get the slabs down!
We hadn't planned to build any housing this year, our goal was simply to prepare the ground. This was not be be, sanctuary buns, Vinnie and Penguin's old hutch and run combo gave up on us, with the floor of the hutch collapsing in one corner. Thankfully we had a vacant pairs unit, enabling us to move them. However, leaving a replacement build until summer next year would have meant we'd be a unit down. So we have brought this build forward and a start on their new home has already been made. Once again I was at the mercy of the weather, needing one more dry day to get it up and the boys moved in.
We also had some work to finish off in our rodent cabin, with a new cage for our ground squirrel Diego and an additional cage to house guinea pigs. There was also shelving to go up for our hamster cages and some shelves for storage. Sparticus, the chipmunk, has already had his new cage and has settled in really well. Overall, the new layout looks great and is much easier to care for all our smaller guests.
The work on the centre and its facilities has been never ending since we opened in January 2015. It's incredibly difficult to devote time to these big projects and find time for everything else. In many cases I have to abandon admin jobs to focus on getting these projects finished. Overall it leads to a lot of stress, anxiety and exhaustion. We don't hire people to complete the work on our behalf, when I'm capable of doing that work myself. It may take longer, it does mean we slip on keeping up to date with the admin, but it saves the charity a small fortune and allows our limited project funding budget to stretch further. So please bare with us just a little bit longer while I get the last few bits completed. Our overall goal is to place the charity in a position where we can help more rabbits long term and make a bigger impact. This summer has been a huge challenge and I'm so glad that we are getting close to finishing for 2021. I'll get a couple of months off from heavy labour before we start work on our new builds in spring 2022.
Sadly, the price of timber has tripled over the last 12 months and we are going to have to try our luck with grant applications to make up the shortfall in the budget to complete the new builds. We have a quarantine unit for newly arriving rabbits to go up, along with 2 pairs units, 2 singles kennels and a bonding unit, allowing us to once again offer an on site bonding service. I'm desperate to get the work finished by this time next year and finally complete our infrastructure at the centre. Not only will we be able to help more rabbits, for many years to come, but I will no longer be forced to give up months at a time to work on our infrastructure. I can't really put into words what this will mean for both myself, mentally and physically, but also for the charity as a whole. Trying to keep everything running smoothly and work on big projects is like being torn in two. I literally need two of me, one to keep everything running smoothly and keep on top of admin and maintenance and the other to get the project work done. The relief of only needing to be one person, has felt like a distant dream for a long time, but I can just about make out the finishing line in the distance now. If we can stick to our target to complete these builds by this time next year, a whole new chapter of the rescue will begin. It will allow us to focus our time and energy on other projects which will have an overall benefit to rabbit and rodent welfare. It will allow me to focus on finding our animals their perfect new homes and work on more fundraising activities to help fund our work and allow us to drive the charity forward.
It's both an exciting and challenging time for Nibbles. We opened up the additional area back in 2017 and have been battling to get it finished ever since. This summer has been a huge step forward and definitely the worst part of the job. We are looking forward to getting started on the building as soon as the weather allows and getting it finished enabling us to offer help to more rabbits. If you would like to make a donation towards the costs of our new builds and help secure a happier and brighter futures for more rabbits, you can do so at www.nibbles.org.uk/donate.