Morley Exotic Animal Rescue lands grant to help unemployed

Alan Hewitt with Alfie the meerkat and Roman the skunk. (d12081161)
Alan Hewitt with Alfie the meerkat and Roman the skunk. (d12081161)

A rescue centre in Morley is hoping to help ‘disengaged youths’ back into society, by working with animals and in doing so gaining a qualification.

Morley Exotic Animal Rescue on Wakefield Road and their charity Inspire-Aspire, have received a National Lottery grant of £9,950 to build new facilities for educating young people.

Alan Hewitt from the charity said: “It is a whole new approach to youth problems of anti-social behaviour, criminality, and low education achievement.”

He says 16–25 year-olds who are not in education or work can be helped: “As animals can have a dramatic effect on disengaged and marginalised young people.

“We plan to have small groups on the course and no more than six at the most.”

And from this, they will gain an NVQ Foundation qualification in animal care.

Julie Mitchell, 31, a trustee, believes working with animals at the centre has helped her.

She said: “I was suffering from depression, not working and came here as a volunteer. Now I no longer suffer from depression.”

Her favourite animal is Stinky. a five-year-old the skunk, who was rescued from a breeder.

The centre has around 100 animals including snakes, meerkats and exotic birds. Go to for more.

It’s hoped the new buildings will be ready by September.