Source: Evesham Journal (Extract)
July 24, 2022

College students turned dog groomers to raise money for a wildlife reserve in South Africa.

Level 3 Animal Welfare students at Pershore College groomed Spaniels, Dachshunds and German Shepherd’s alike for Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa – a family run, 4,700 hectare, nature reserve.

The group of 10 students raised more than £350, with a party of 17 from the college planning a visit to north-west South Africa in June 2023.

Chloe Jones, animal welfare lecturer at Pershore College, said: “As a once professional dog groomer, and now the teacher of dog grooming modules, it was only fitting that me and my students welcomed dogs and their owners to the college for a day of canine-related TLC, all in the name of charity.

“We plan to arrange another dog grooming day before Christmas so students can utilise their developing skills once again, and also run more charity events in the lead up to our much-anticipated visit to South Africa next summer.”

The fledgling partnership between Pershore College, part of college group WCG, and Mankwe Wildlife Reserve came about through the former’s industry placement coordinator for animal welfare, Chloe Levitt, who worked at the reserve for three years – which is owned and run by her mother-in-law.

She said: “It was so great seeing staff and students come together to help fundraise for a cause so close to my heart.

“It really shows what passionate and determined individuals there are at Pershore College when they are willing to give up their time and donate money for a reserve they have yet to visit.

“I was so heartbroken to move back to the UK and leave the reserve but I did so with the goal to continue raising awareness and helping the reserve as best as I could. Luckily, staff and students have shown nothing but enthusiasm and support for the charity which has been incredible.

“Having lived and worked there, I have seen first-hand the struggles the staff and animals endure at the reserve and I know how every penny raised can make a huge difference, from fuelling an anti-poaching vehicle for a week, to paying veterinary bills for the anti-poaching canines or buying a new torch for the anti-poaching scouts to use on their night patrols.

“I am really looking forward to seeing our students out there next year as I know they are going to fall in love with the reserve and the rhino just as much as I did.”

Dr Lynne Mactavish, founder of Endangered Rhino, added: “At the Mankwe Rhino Reserve, our efforts are dedicated to keeping the rhino safe, ensuring that they can live a peaceful life and continue to breed and fight against the dwindling global rhino population rate.

“Travel bans during and post Covid-19 has brought really tough times and without urgent help we may have no other option but to give up, which will be a tragedy to the 2,500 animals living at Mankwe.

“We are so thankful to all those who are fundraising and raising awareness. it means so much to us all of us here at Mankwe and we are really looking forward to meeting the students of Pershore College next year.”