A £1MILLION project to revamp facilities at a muchloved animal charity is under way.

Ferne Animal Sanctuary, in Wambrook, has launched its ‘New Digs for Dogs’ appeal to raise the £500,000 needed to complete the renovation work.

The scheme includes plans for a new kennel block, improved grooming and veterinary care room, information hub, social unit, offices, reception and purpose- built re-homing centre.

Work on demolishing the existing kennel block began last week. While an incredible £500,000 will come from the charity’s reserves saved for the project, the remaining £500,000 needs to be raised through donations and fund-raising events.

Ferne Animal Sanctuary director, Jenny Wheadon, said: “Replacing the dated kennels with a purpose-built re-homing centre will double the sanctuary’s current capacity and provide refuge for even more animals.

“This is the most expensive project the sanctuary has ever undertaken and we need everyone to please support it in whatever way they can as every penny counts.

“The present kennels at Ferne Animal Sanctuary are nearly 50 years old – maintenance and repair is constantly required and they have become uneconomical to run. The building will not withstand another winter.

“It would be nice to think the need for places like Ferne is diminishing but, unfortunately, the reverse is true and the opportunity to improve facilities and take care of our four-legged friends using much improved, 21st Century technology is an exciting challenge.”

Ferne Animal Sanctuary provides a safe and comfortable home for over 300 unwanted and abandoned animals.

During 2013, Ferne Animal Sanctuary found homes for 343 unwanted dogs and cats, as well as foster homes for 13 horses.

It receives animals and finds homes for them within a 40-mile radius of Chard.

Amanda Park, head of kennels, said: “I never fail to be shocked and absolutely heart-broken by the torment and terrible conditions some of the dogs we receive have suffered.

“Some are found in a dreadful state just dumped on the road, tied up or even in a bin.

“We desperately need support to offer these unwanted and abandoned dogs a comfortable home. I urge everyone, please, to dig into their pockets as deeply as they can to help our ‘New Digs for Dogs’ Appeal.

“Every fund-raising event organised and every donation received – no matter how small – really counts.”

Fundraising packs and details of how to donate can be obtained by visiting www.ferneanimalsanctuary.org or calling the sanctuary on 01460-65214.