Caring for around 16,000 dogs across the UK and Ireland, Dogs Trust is the largest dog welfare charity in the UK.
The charity has been expanding over the last decade and has opened centres in west London, Glasgow, Dublin, Leeds and Loughborough. The latest development is of a 12 acre site in Basildon, Essex which is set to care for an increasing number of abandoned dogs in the area.
Work has been underway on the £7million project, known as Stephenson Farm, since early this year and is scheduled for completion in April 2014.
Speaking about the development, project manager Paul Wass said: “Dogs Trust have been looking for a site in the Essex area for a number of years now. We found this site several years ago and it is in an ideal location on a main road, where we can really advertise our presence.
“The site is a really good size; we needed a minimum of six acres and anything on top of that means that we have better facilities for exercising the dogs”.
A typical Dogs Trust centre will have around 60 kennels, a puppy facility and a training area. At Basildon there are a total of 60 kennels which break down into 20 for new arrivals, 20 for those ready to be re-homed, and 20 for dogs that have been booked to go to their new homes. There is also a training and behavioural assessment building.
Offices, kitchens, back of house facilities for staff and a fully functioning veterinary suite have been constructed in addition to a large reception area that can accommodate up to 100 visitors.
All features within the centre have been designed with sustainability in mind, “sustainability has been key”, said Paul.
“We have tried to make the building as practically airtight as we can; we have included mass insulation, a biomass boiler, PV generation on the roof and we have endeavored to save as much rain water we as can.”
The external facilities have been developed to ensure that the dogs have as much stimulation as possible. Paul said: “Over half the site has been developed, adjacent to the site is a woodland area and as part of the planning agreement we agreed to develop half of our site into a wooded walk area. We have planted 10,000 trees to create a continuation of the woodland and we have built walkways through it to take our dogs around.
Paul went onto discuss several other sites around the UK that are earmarked for similar developments, illustrating the charities continuing ambition to ensure that no healthy dog is ever destroyed.
For information visit www.dogstrust.org.uk