National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) was founded in 1971 as an independent charity, and was originally known as Animal Welfare Trust (the word national was added in 1996 as part of our 25th Anniversary celebrations).
The roots of the organisation can be traced back to 1958, when the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) established BUVA Dog Rescue. The initiative to establish BUAV Dog Rescue was to stop dogs and puppies being bought at markets as a way of preventing them going to laboratories for vivisection. In 1965 the name was changed to BUAV Animal Aid, in recognition that all sorts of animals were being saved from vivisection.
In 1971 BUAV members felt that the work of BUAV Animal Aid was departing from its aims, and it was agreed to establish a separate charity to be known as Animal Welfare Trust (AWT). AWT remained under the auspices of BUAV, along with the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research, until 1979, when both organisations started to work from the Hendon & Aldenham Boarding Kennels - run by our then Chairman Mr Sidney Hicks - sharing facilities and staff. The Dr Hadwen Trust is now completely separate from NAWT, although both organisations remain close, share members and work together as appropriate.
NAWT finally purchased the Hendon & Aldenham Boarding Kennels in 1981, and the first NAWT Rescue and Re-homing centre was established. Prior to this most of our rescue and re-homing work had been undertaken using volunteers and through renting space in commercial boarding kennels and catteries.
In 1986 AWT purchased an adjoining field to our Watford Centre, which enabled us to improve the facilities for our large animals, and establish more exercise paddocks for the 120+ dogs housed on site.
NAWT acquired its second centre, Heaven's Gate Farm in Somerset in the early 1990s, and purchased our third centre - Trindledown Farm in Berkshire - in the late 1990s. Trindledown was purchased to enable us to develop the first purpose built animal retirement home in the country, and was finally opened and fully operational in 2002.
Our centre in Cornwall came about as a result of the inspiring work of Molly Wyatt. Molly worked hard over many years to provide a rescue and re-homing service in Cornwall, and shortly before her death in 1996 she asked if NAWT would be willing to carry on her work. The trust readily agreed, and in 1997, we took over financial and organisational responsibility for the work in Cornwall.
Our re-homing work in Thurrock is carried out by our local Essex branch, and operates out of rented boarding kennels.
Over the years NAWT has had active supporters groups across the country. Whilst the numbers have waxed and waned, the focus of these groups has been on undertaking local animal rescue and welfare work, and on fundraising to support the work of the Trust, either by being associated with a particular centre, or by making a more general contribution to our work.
Currently we have supporters groups in Cornwall, Somerset, Surrey, Essex and Tameside.
The Aims and Objectives of the charity are:
As a charity the work of the Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees, who volunteer their time and expertise to guide the development of the charity, and to support the work of the Chief Executive and staff.
Our current trustees are:
Laura Magee BEng (Hons) (Chairman) - Laura joined the trustees in 2005. Laura is a consultant project manager within the construction industry and a qualified Civil & Structural Engineer. Work positions have ranged from building site supervision, detailed analytical modeling to survey work on offshore gas platforms. Previous experience has also included the project management of a new build for a national charity based in Milton Keynes. The building included many issues surrounding disability access and environmental sustainability; subjects that have remained of personal interest. Animals have always played a role in Laura’s life and she is owned by an energetic rescue dog, Alfie, from NAWT Watford. To relax and unwind she chooses life underwater and is a qualified sub-aqua diver.
Di Brown (Vice-Chair) - Di has been a trustee since 2001 and a supporter of NAWT since adopting a dog in July 1990.Naturally, there have been many others that she has been involved with re-homing since then, both to herself and friends. After taking voluntary retirement from the London Ambulance Service, after a career of almost thirty years, she was fortunate in moving on to a part time receptionist position at the veterinary surgery that she attended.Di has always had pets and an interest in animals, birds and nature and the transition from dealing with people to animals and their owners, was a perfect move.
Nigel Holland BA (Hons), ACMA - Nigel joined the trustees in 2005. Nigel is an Accountant by profession, having worked for GEC, Dorling Kindersley and Time Life International. He is presently with Acton Bright Steel.Nigel has been Treasurer of the Surrey branch of NAWT for over 10 years. Together with his wife, Andrea, they have raised much needed funds and helped to re-home many animals. One of his many interests is that of flying and he is currently taking lessons to gain his Private Pilots Licence. On the animal front Andrea and Nigel currently have 6 cats, 2 rabbits, 1 parrot and 3 budgies, although over the years they have taken in over 60 animals.
Susan Francombe BSc (Hons), C.Eng, MICE, LLDip - Susan joined the board in November 2009. Susan is a Chartered Civil Engineer and Barrister with over 22 years experience of the construction industry. Over that time she has worked for consultants, contractors, employers and insurers, and experienced both private practice and employed status as a Barrister. Susan has always had a love of nature and animals. She currently has two bouncy Labradors (one from NAWT Watford) and a rescue cat with no tail. For relaxation she plays golf badly and is a keen computer gamer.
James Moore MCIM (Honorary Treasurer) - James joined the trustees in autumn 2011. James is a marketing consultant with consumer and business-to-business experience that includes financial services, wealth management, publishing and Government departments. He has even done a stint in fundraising. Specialising in direct marketing, James has managed product launches, branding, market research and customer retention. He has also led technical database and call-centre projects, which involved significant business change. James and his wife Margaret are cat lovers whose life is ruled by the current foundling that adopted them. Among his other interests James is Chair of a new library Friends group, and treasurer of his allotment association. When he has any time to spare he is trying to learn Arabic and Russian.
The Trustee body meets quarterly, and is responsible for agreeing and reviewing the overall strategy of the Trust, reviewing and approving policies, agreeing the budget and approving the annual accounts, ensuring that there are effective governance arrangements, establishing delegated authorities and management frameworks, and monitoring overall operational performance.
Day-to-day management of the Trust is delegated to the Chief Executive who leads a management team consisting of: Veterinary Director, Resources Director, Administration Manager and Centre Managers.
We are working towards a future where no animal is refused help. Where every animal entering our care is found a suitable and loving home and whilst in our care all animals are looked after in line with our values.
Our Mission is to be one of the leading animal welfare and re-homing charities for the care and rehabilitation of animals.
The fundamental principle of our approach to animal welfare is that no healthy animal will be destroyed.
Our non-destruction principle is underpinned by our wish to ensure that the needs of the animals we care for (as required by the Animal Welfare Act 2006) are fully met. These needs are:
Going beyond our statutory responsibilities, the Trust has developed a further set of Values that we aspire to. The challenge is in ensuring these are a consistent feature of the work that we do, in both caring for animals and in our relationships with the public who benefit from our work, and provide the resources needed to fulfil our Mission.
The National Animal Welfare Trust will be:
In developing our Vision, Mission and Values the trust choose not to define the word animal. The prime focus of our work is small domestic animals, but that there may be occasions when it is appropriate for us to take in another type of animal. This would then be decided on a case-by-case basis.