Volunteer with us

We rely on the generosity of volunteers, fellow people like you, as we do not receive any government funding. We can give our dogs and cats the high standard of care that we are so proud of, due to the dedication of our wonderful team of volunteers. There are so many ways that you can lend a hand and get involved, some of which are detailed below. Volunteering is an excellent way of making new friends, getting active in your local community, and making sure you have a busy and fun social life! If you think you can help, the possibilities are endless.

Ways to Volunteer

Whatever your skills, and no matter how much or how little time you can spare, there will be a way for you to lend us a helping hand. As you can see, there are plenty of ways….

With animals

  • Providing stimulation and exercise for the animals
    • Walking the dogs in the woods or public areas
    • Cuddling the cats
    • Socialising the dogs and cats
  • Lock Up shifts for cats and dogs – providing the final feeds, walks and cuddles of the day for the animals (7pm until 9pm shift)
  • Providing short and long term foster care
  • Assisting our staff in the kennels & the cattery
  • Carrying out home checks
  • Capturing photos and videos of our animals for our website
  • Managing the animals available for adoption online


  • Arranging and supporting events
  • Attending collections and bag packing events
  • Organising and running community events
  • Giving talks to local groups about Holly Hedge
  • Support Holly Hedge Campaigns
  • Managing Charity collection boxes
  • Taking part in overseas challenges
  • Skydiving
  • Abseiling
  • Running marathons
  • Making a regular monthly donation
  • Nominating Holly Hedge to be your Company or Corporation Charity of the Year
  • Salary Giving
  • Collecting or making prizes for our Auctions, Raffles, and Tombola’s
  • Creating and running Just Giving Campaigns
  • Donating a percentage of your sales value when you sell items on eBay

In the Office

  • Welcoming customers and visitors
  • carrying out administration tasks in the office
  • handling enquiries
  • Data entry
  • Project management
  • Administrative work and filing

In the Laundry & Cleaning

  • Cleaning pens and kennels and public areas
  • Sterilising equipment
  • Washing bedding, towels, and toys

With Maintenance, Building Work & Gardening

  • Painting
  • Gardening
  • Grounds Keeping
  • General Maintenance and repair work
  • Plumbing


  • Collecting and delivering food/donations and occasionally animals

In our Charity Shop in Nailsea

  • Serving customers
  • Stock Processing and store room management
  • Upcycling
  • eBay Store Management
  • Retail Merchandising

With Online Management

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Website
  • Online Store
  • PenPal

The Legal bit

If you are over 16, you can volunteer to help us, and work with the cats, but you need to be over 18 to work with the dogs. Volunteers under the age of 16 may be accompanied by a parent or guardian, who must also be registered as a volunteer with us.

To volunteer either complete our online application form, pop into the Sanctuary and fill out a form in reception or email volunteering@hollyhedge.org.uk to register to attend one of our open evenings.

We will then either invite you to attend a health & safety induction course, and to have a tour of site & the walks we take (if you are applying to volunteer with animals), or we will invite you in for an informal chat about the volunteer role you may be interested in.

Please note, to cover our admin/staffing costs we will be requesting a minimum £10 donation for the first induction and £5 for any further inductions thereafter.

We need to see two forms of ID, both must show your current address and one must be a photographic form of ID (for example a recent utility bill and your driving license or a college card).

Please note for Cat Cuddling, to prevent over crowding in the cattery we are now asking people to book their sessions in advance on a 4 week basis between either 10am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 4pm

It can take a little time for us to process our volunteer requests, so please bear with us. We really appreciate your support and can’t wait to get you started!

If you want to volunteer with your company please see our Get Involved section, and have a look at the various ways your company can support our vital work, from volunteer group days to fundraising events at your work place.

As a charity, we rely on your help and in return the varied roles we offer will look great on your CV. You can develop your existing skills, learn new ones, and feel good about yourself too – not to mention make great new friends with like-minded people!

Specific volunteer roles that we are currently seeking to fill are:


Are you an energetic, confident and organised individual who is looking for a foot in the door to the world of events and fundraising within the charity sector?

We are looking for a vibrant individual to support our current fundraiser and add value to our community fundraising programme.

This role will increase the fundraising stream by maximizing support for current mechanisms to actively developing new activity. As well as securing funding, it will also raise our profile in Bristol and the surrounding area, promoting our services to more people, and developing the opportunities that come from this increase in profile.

You will be comfortable communicating with people from a range of backgrounds and in a range of settings, from volunteers at a local fundraising event to members of the public. You will thrive on making connections with others, and you will also have the understanding and appreciation required to communicate the nature of Holly Hedge’s work.

Duties will include assisting at events, working on fundraising campaigns, writing fundraising material, nurturing relationships with fundraisers, building new relationships within the local community, placing collection tins and helping with other general administration.

If you would like more information on this exciting role please email hannah.wozniak@hollyhedge.org.uk.


Although we do everything we can to make things as easy as possible for the cats and dogs in our care, some of them find it very difficult to cope in our noisy and stressful kennel environment. We also endeavour to place puppies and kittens and elderly animals in caring foster homes, to ensure that they receive the specialist attention, care and love they so desperately need. This is where our Volunteer Animal Fosterers come in. They provide a loving and calm environment for these cats and dogs as we try to find them their future home.

As we are rapidly approaching kitten season, this is the time of year that sees our animal numbers increase tenfold as pregnant mums, and cats with kittens are brought to us or dumped at the Sanctuary. A mother and kitten animal fosterer would look after the young family in a home environment so that they are socialised at an early stage of their development. The fostering period can vary from a few weeks to a few months. You would need to be at home for most of the day, and have a secure room to keep mum and her kittens safe. You will also need to have transport to get to the Sanctuary/Vets for vet checks as required.

To find out more about becoming an animal fosterer please contact us.

We also look for volunteer foster families to help with other cats and dogs, whether they are young or in their twilight years, or because they may be ill. We also seek special foster families for dogs and cats that are finding kennel life especially difficult. Please let us know if you are interested in offering a space in your home to one of our needy animals.


We are currently looking for volunteers to help us answer the phones, reply to emails, answer queries and provide information for the public. We also need volunteers to help us keep our database up to date and to help keep the ‘our animals’ section of this website as current as possible. We are currently updating all our records and data systems and so we are always keen to hear from any computer savvy volunteers, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you think you could help!

If you enjoy being around people and doing a wide and varying range of tasks then this could be the role for you! There are various roles available from a full day on reception to just a few hours. Full training will be given for all volunteer roles.


We are currently seeking volunteers to help at our charity shop in Nailsea. If you enjoy being around people and doing a wide and varying range of tasks, then this could be the place for you. You will be the first point of contact for our customers – helping them with any queries they may have. You will sort through donations and price them, man the till and make sure that the shop is well presented (this can include helping with our window display).

Perhaps you have knowledge in a relevant field, are you a book worm or movie master? Or maybe you have an ear for music, a passion for fashion or a great eye for an antique? You could really help us turn people’s donations into pounds! An eye for detail and good organisational skills are always a valuable asset. Full training will be given.

Please contact the Nailsea shop to find out more.


We always need volunteers to join our small and friendly team of fundraisers. The Friends of Holly Hedge Fundraising Group have been raising funds since the very beginning and to date they have raised over £220,000, which is an amazing achievement and one we are truly grateful for. We need people to help join this group and help us collect at supermarkets, run table-tops sales, deliver flyers and put up posters, bake cakes and man refreshments stalls, find venues and get permission to hold fundraising collections and events. There really is a role for every one, from a few hours a month to as much time as you would like to commit. Our fundraising group is the life blood of the Sanctuary, without the funds they raise we would not be able to care for the 800 plus cats and dogs that find themselves in our care. If you would like to help please contact us or pop in for a chat, we’d really love to hear from you!

Downloadable Documents:

Cat cuddling guidelines

Dog walking guidelines

Volunteer Pack