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Hampdens hedgehog awareness week


Hampdens Hedgehogs Awareness


3rd May 2024

I have been working on Hedgehog conservation for a while now and I think of myself as a Hedgehog Champion. My name is Kitty and I am 10 ½ years old.

It all started two years ago when I found out that Hedgehogs were on the red endangered list and I instinctively wanted to try and protect them. They are endangered for many reasons and we have to try and stop them from becoming extinct. My Mum cut a hole in our fence and overnight we had Hedgehogs come into our garden. I noticed their poo first; we bought a wildlife camera and saw them coming in and out of our new Hedgehog hole. I started to feed them and set out to learn all about these amazing spiky mammals. I learnt they don’t eat slugs or snails; they huff a lot and they are good climbers! These mammals were going to need as much help as they could get, so I decided to try and do something about that.

I wanted my neighbours and community to know we had Hedgehogs. Last year I organised a stall to raise awareness with my neighbours about our prickly friends that live in our gardens and local parks. We showed our community how to look after Hedgehogs by creating Hedgehog Highways, making gardens more wildlife friendly and what you can feed Hedgehogs to help them out. We had so many visitors and got everyone talking about Hedgehogs. It turned out that lots of my neighbours like them too and some had even started to feed them and open up their gardens to them.

Kitty supporting Hampdens hedgehogs

On the day I ran a raffle and sold raffle tickets (with some kind donations from local garden centres and businesses) and sold Hedgehog Biscuits. I was raising money for Hallswood Animal Sanctuary and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society. There is nothing that I love more than educating children (and adults) on how to look after Hedgehogs and how important they are in our community. It makes me feel good knowing that I might be able to help them.

Since I ran our stall our family have become known locally for helping Hedgehogs and have taken several Hedgehogs to Hallswood Animal Sanctuary when they have been sick or abandoned as babies. We have also released some back into our garden when Hallswood has cared for them and made them better. Every Hedgehog that we take to Hallswood costs them £200 to rehabilitate and they have over 2000 Hedgehogs patients last year alone!

I have also been asked to run sessions in my local Rainbows & Beavers group and I talked to them about how to create holes in their fences and open up Hedgehog Highways and make sure that our gardens are Hedgehog friendly. The children were very enthusiastic and asked lots of questions. I was invited back to a presentation and the children gave me a ‘Thank you’ card and the parents told me that they were instructed by their children to cut holes in their fences since the talk.

I also delivered an assembly at school on Hedgehogs and how to care for them. I sold Badges and Biscuits on the playground raising more money for the two Hedgehog charities.

I also contacted Taylor Wimpey (who built our estate) to tried and persuade them to come and cut holes in peoples fences for free. However, we did not entirely succeed, but they still agreed to cut holes in the fences that they built with the new houses. So, we had some success!

Hedgehog Awareness Day

One morning on the way to school I noticed how untidy our estate was becoming and told my Mum I wanted to organise a litter pick with my neighbours. So with some help from the local neighbourhood watch group and a local town councillor I organised a litter pick for the community here on my estate at The Hamptons in Costessey.I wanted to make sure that the green spaces were clear of litter to help the Hedgehogs as they came out of hibernation. When we did it (at the end of March) people loved it so much that they asked if we could do it every month. We collected 20 bags of rubbish in 1 hour and had over 30 people come and help. I made them Hedgehog Biscuits to say thank you. It was lovely to meet so many new people.

On Sunday 5th May on the first day of Hedgehog Awareness Week, we are going to run another Hedgehog Awareness stall to raise money for our two amazing charities. I have asked for donations from lots of businesses and so far, I have over £500 worth of donations ranging from Hedgehog houses, wildlife cameras, Hedgehog food to cuddly toys. So many companies have been so generous and I hope I can raise even more money this year.

I am also going to run a pop-up Hedgehog Awareness stall at our local Pet Supplies store and sell raffle tickets. I hope that I can get my message out to the whole of Norwich, not just my estate where I live.

I have also asked our local landscapers to give us planning permission to plant two wildflower meadows in my local park. I have asked my neighbours to adopt a tree pit outside their house. I have given them seeds and I am trying to encourage them to grow pollinating plants so that the insects increase and the Hedgehogs have a plentiful food choice. I can’t wait to see what the tree pits look like this summer when they are in full bloom.

I want to encourage the people from our estate to embrace wildlife and attract bees and more insects. A cleaner and healthier lifestyle for bees and pollinators is a cleaner and healthier lifestyle for us as well, meaning we can all do our part.

I have been asked to attend Costessey Town Council Annual General Meeting next week to tell them what I have been doing to help Hedgehogs. I want to be able to inspire everyone in my community and try to get my town council to think more widely about how they can help wildlife too and help save the Hedgehog from extinction.

I hope to ask them if I can have some funding for some Litter Picking equipment for our group, some spring bulbs for early pollinators and help me to continue to make my estate a cleaner, more greener place to live.

young hedgehog in garden

My next project will be to try and get some Hedgehog Road signs, to remind and warn drivers about the Hedgehogs that live on our estate. Last year we had 6 fatalities on the roads near my house. I really want residents, visitors and businesses that drive around our estate to think about their speed and to be on the lookout for our prickly neighbours.

It doesn’t take much to be a Hedgehog Champion.

By doing some small things you can make a big difference.

  1. Try opening up your garden and create a Hedgehog Highway.
  2. Buy a packet of seeds and plant some pollinating plants.
  3. Let a corner of your garden become wild so insects can flourish.
  4. Don’t use pesticides, slug pellets or chemicals in your garden.
  5. Leave a bowl of water out for the Hedgehogs.
  6. Make a Hedgehog house or feeding station and leave some food ( Hedgehog food or dog food is best)
  7. Don’t use netting in your garden.
  8. Always check before cutting or strimming your grass, or having a bonfire.
  9. Always throw your litter in a bin.
  10. Create an exit for Hedgehogs from your pond- they can swim but have trouble getting out sometimes!

I hope you enjoyed my Hedgehog Conservation blog and thank you for spending time reading this.

Don’t forget if you do decide to do something to help Hedgehogs, it won’t only be helping them but it will BEE helping pollinators as well!

Kitty – aged 10

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