Battersea volunteers create green oasis for homeless dogs

Green-fingered volunteers at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home have created an urban jungle in South London for homeless dogs.

A dedicated team of gardening volunteers have used their spare time to transform the famous London centre into a greener, more enriched area for animals and humans alike to enjoy. All of which was possible thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Katie Morgan, Head Gardening Volunteer at Battersea said: “I’ve been volunteering at Battersea since 2011 and being here allows me to combine two of my favourite things-gardening and animals.”

Before Katie and her team started gardening at Battersea, the vast centre was compromised of concrete paths and tarmacked paddocks with very little greenery. Then Katie came along, brimming with idea to transform the iconic city site into a green haven.

Knowing how much dogs love to sniff and explore their surroundings, Katie and the team set to work transforming neglected unused areas of the Home into special exercise areas where dogs can enjoy themselves in times of stress and confusion.

Katie continues: “Across the centre we’ve grown a variety of different plants, from rosemary to lavender and mint, all of which are safe for dogs and will give them plenty to smell. We’ve also been busy creating a sensory garden for the dogs, which include windchimes and sand and gravel pits for the dogs to explore in.”

Pots, plants and equipment can get expensive, especially for a charity. But People’s Postcode Lottery awarded £100,000 to Battersea’s Fostering and Volunteering department, which has contributed towards the cost of materials.

Steve Craddock, Centre Manager at Battersea said: “Katie’s work really has been invaluable. Not only does the centre look nicer with all of the greenery, but the plants really benefit our animals.

“Coming to a new environment where there is so much going on can be very unsettling for dogs and cats, but the plants here really help to settle our animals and let them be themselves again. We’re so thankful for the generous support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, as none of this would be possible without them.”

To find out more about volunteering opportunities at Battersea, you can visit https://www.battersea.org.uk/support-us/volunteer