Whether it's an abandoned pet that's in desperate need of a new home or local wildlife in danger of losing their natural habitats, there are so many animals out there that require our help.
Scotland is diverse when it comes to animal life thanks to its thousands of pet lovers and many native species, which range from red squirrels and deer to grouse and lapwings. While most are able to enjoy happy and healthy lives, there are also many animals in Scotland who are at risk.
Animal sanctuaries are crucial organisations that provide protection and vital care services to creatures in need – and you'll find plenty of these charities in Scotland. We're proud that People's Postcode Lottery players have funded many of them. You could show your support simply by signing up to play. Read on to find out more about how you could volunteer, campaign and fundraise with some of these incredible organisations.
Animal Sanctuaries In Scotland That Need Your Help
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is the UK's largest nature conservation charity and is dedicated to reducing the threat to bird habitats through education and preservation programmes. So far it's opened nearly 200 nature reserves, 80 of which are located in Scotland.
As well as preserving forests and other locales, RSPB Scotland's reserves also serve as sanctuaries for many bird species. These reserves have centres where the public can go to learn hands-on about the environment and why it's crucial that we preserve it for future generations.
The RSPB currently has over 12,000 volunteers who assist with a range of jobs or duties, including admin work, conservation projects, publicity and wildlife surveys. Why not get involved, too? You could also support RSPB Scotland by joining its 1.2 million members, by organising a fundraising event or even by collecting stamps for the 'Save the Albatross' campaign! RSPB Scotland have been supported by our generous players, receiving funding of £20,000 from them in 2018.
As this charity's name suggests, Cats Protection is committed to offering stray, abandoned or abused cats and kittens safe, kind and healthy homes. Cats Protection was started in the 1920s, a time when cats weren't considered the beloved pets they are today. Since then, the organisation has been able to rehome 1.5 million felines.
Cats Protection is active across the UK and has several sanctuaries in Scotland, including in Glasgow and Dumfries. It's also opened many charity shops that rely entirely on volunteers to run them. If you'd rather work directly with the animals, though, you'll find most of the shelters accept volunteers, especially those on pre-clinical placements looking for work experience and those completing their Duke of Edinburgh award.
One of the best ways to show your support is to, of course, adopt a cute cat! If that's not possible though, and its not a decision to take lightly, why not sponsor one instead?
SCOTTISH WILDLIFE TRUSTS
Another charity that works to protect the natural habitats of many species across the UK is the Wildlife Trusts. This organisation was started up in 1912 by Charles Rothschild, a naturalist and advocate for environmental and animal conservation.
Fast forward a hundred years and the Wildlife Trusts now has over 2,000 wildlife sanctuary reserves scattered across the UK as well as dozens of visitors centres and educational facilities. In Scotland, you'll find four visitors centres, plus multiple preservation project sites for species like red squirrels, Scottish beavers and native marine life.
You could volunteer with the Scottish Wildlife Trusts by becoming a Wildlife Watch Leader for their school programmes, assisting with fundraising or awareness events, or helping out with conservation at locations across the country.
From dogs that have grown up without a home to those with owners who are unable to look after them any longer, Dogs Trust is committed to finding all canines a happy and safe forever home. The charity was started up in 1891 and currently has 20 rescue centres, including two in Scotland.
As well as its dog sanctuaries and rehoming services, Dogs Trust campaigns around issues like puppy smuggling, irresponsible breeding and microchipping. The organisation also runs a sponsorship programme that lets you help out with the care and rehabilitation of a dog and receive regular updates on their progress.
People's Postcode Lottery players have so far been able to raise £9.5 Million for Dogs Trust - but we could increase that number with your help. If you'd like to get involved in a more hands-on way, though, take a look at the volunteering opportunities on offer with Dogs Trust in Scotland. As well as helping out at the two rescue centres in Glasgow and West Calder, you could also assist in the charity shops or become a dog fosterer.
How Can You Show Your Support?
While signing up to play People's Postcode Lottery is one way to support some fantastic charities, you could also do your bit by volunteering directly. Take a look at our Local Causes directory for some great opportunities in and around Scotland.