Hope Rescue: giving stray dogs a second chance

Vanessa Waddon, founder and Transformation Manager of Hope Rescue, talks about realising her dream of setting up a dedicated rescue centre with the help of a Charity Bank loan.

“I remember clearly the day I read a story in the local newspaper about a racing greyhound that had been found, injured and abandoned, by some local walkers. I’ve always been a dog lover and have had rescue dogs my whole life. The story deeply affected me and I felt energised to do something to try and make a difference. I started by volunteering with a charity that looks after retired race dogs and this opened my eyes to the plight of stray dogs. In 2005 I founded Hope Rescue, named after that first greyhound “Last Hope”.

“Our initial work was centred around rescue co-ordination, working with many local pounds and other charities to relocate stray dogs before they were destroyed. It was often difficult finding spots in the kennels for stray dogs and this is where the idea for a dedicated rescue centre came from. For a small charity with no real capital, we knew that fundraising would be difficult. We began doing some research into social lenders as we needed an organisation who could really understand our sector and position.

“If we ever needed another loan, we would only go back to Charity Bank.”

Vanessa Waddon, founder and Transformation Manager at Hope Rescue
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The Hope Rescue centre © Steve Phillips

“Charity Bank was the first lender we contacted. The moment I spoke to the local Regional Manager, Chris Tweedie, I knew that Charity Bank was the right lender for us. I could tell immediately that she understood what we were trying to do and wanted to help us achieve our goal. She gave so much advice and encouragement, enabling us to make the rescue centre a reality much quicker than we ever anticipated. If we ever needed another loan, we would only go back to Charity Bank. It feels like there’s a real personal connection that you just wouldn’t get with a mainstream lender.

“Getting the Charity Bank loan and being able to open the Hope Rescue centre hasn’t just enabled us to help local stray dogs, it will also have a real community impact. Having a tangible base has allowed us to continue to grow and develop various aspects of the charity, such as our “Hope in the Community” outreach programme. It has also helped us to attract other support and funding. In the end, it all comes down to Charity Bank and their belief in us.”

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Play time © Steve Phillips

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© Steve Phillips

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Getting acclimatised to his new home © Steve Phillips