Unwanted pets are getting some TLC from youngsters thanks to an animal sanctuary’s innovative project.
St Bernard’s has seen dramatic changes in some of its most timid cats and dogs after welcoming young volunteers in to the centre in Old Whittington.
College students and children on work experience - many who have learning difficulties or disabilities - have been learning about animal care by looking after unwanted, abandoned and injured pets.
The volunteering has had a positive impact on the young trainees who have grown in confidence and some have found a step in to permanent work.
Team leader Daphne Shepherd said: “Some of our animals have been badly treated and our volunteers have made a terrific effort just by giving them some TLC and spending some time with them.
“To have some one sit with out timid cats, give them cuddles and bring them out of their shells has had a big impact.”
Some trainees have learning difficulties and disabilities including attention deficit disorder, down syndrome and deafness as well as youngsters who have struggled to find jobs.
Sixteen young people aged 14 to 22 are currently taking part in the scheme.
The sanctuary will also help them gain qualifications.
Daphne said: “We like to think we are helping people and helping animals.
“The trainees get lots of experience in looking after different animals but also learn to respect them.
“We hope the more people understand about animals the more it will help prevent cruelty in the future.”