A Maud-based animal centre has taken a big step towards securing its long-term future with the successful application for £25,000 in funding from leading funder for the third sector, Social Investment Scotland.
The Owl and Pussycat Centre, based at Brucklay Estate, is home to the owls made famous in the Harry Potter films.
It specialises in providing animal-assisted therapies by bringing people of all ages into contact with the animals at the centre.
The investment from SIS will assist the organisation in building an interactive cat house with wheelchair access and help to create jobs and volunteering opportunities at the centre.
SIS will provide the charity with both the financial and business support it needs to help the organisation become more financially sustainable and extend its positive social impact on the local community and beyond.
As well as the funding boost from SIS, the centre has also been awarded charity status.
Ruth Hickling, founder and manger of the centre, said: “I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Social Investment Scotland for believing in the organisation and its vision of improving the health and wellbeing of people in the local community.
“The funding will allow us to take great steps in growing the charity and becoming a specialist retreat where people from right across the UK and abroad can come to visit.
“We’re pleased to have also been awarded charitable status which will strengthen our position further.”
The idea for the centre was conceived after Ruth volunteered at her friends’ birds of prey display and realised the positive impact the birds had on the behaviour of children with additional support needs.
Set up in 2010, the centre currently looks after 50 cats, 14 horses, six trained therapy dogs and 35 birds of prey, including two stars of the Harry Potter films, the snowy owl, Hedwig, and the great horned owl, Eral.
Ruth and her team are currently gearing up for a fundraising event Push the Boat Out an evening event from 7pm to 11.30pm on Saturday, August 9, at Fraserburgh lighthouse.