A WILDLIFE rescue centre in Powys fears it may be forced to shut down after access to its water source was cut off.

Rhayader Wildlife Rescue is home to a vast array of almost 200 animals, including geese, ducks, chicken, rabbits, budgies, parrots, Shetland ponies, alpacas, Guinea pigs, goats, hedgehogs, as well as nine birds of prey.

Rescue centre founder Tim Churchill houses 160 animals at the site, located near Nantmel. The water is a vital resource for the animals, especially when injured, dehydrated or stressed. It is required to feed them, as well as wash them and clean wounds.

Tim says the normal water supply was cut off three weeks ago – he has since been carting 20-gallon drums to a nearby stream and filling them up six times a day.


“We’ve been without water for three weeks, there’s no water coming in whatsoever,” said Tim, who set up the centre in 2017 following a heart attack.

“Our usual water source from a hilltop well has been redirected. It’s always supplied enough water for the animals to drink and to clean them. But now I am going down to the stream and filling containers six times a day.”

Tim said he has contacted various authorities but he was quoted £10,000 for a bore hole to be constructed, while he claims local water suppliers quoted him almost £5,000 just to introduce a standpipe at the gateway. He also said he was told it could take three months to do that. “I’ve stressed it’s an animal welfare issue,” said Tim. “We’ve got 160+ animals.”

County Times: Alpacas at the centreAlpacas at the centre

In response he has set up a JustGiving page to try and help with the estimated £5,000 costs to sort out a permanent water source. Since setting up the page on Monday, £1,158 has already been donated – with one anonymous donor pledging £500.

The rescue centre venture started out as Valley View Falconry in the early days, but Tim says he and wife Kat were soon inundated with requests from members of the public and local vets, who started bringing them injured birds of prey; buzzards, red kites, tawny owls, even a baby bat.

Pretty soon, however, they were rehoming pets such as rabbits, budgies and guinea pigs.

Issues first arose when Covid-19 hit. Now, the water issue has Tim fearing for the welfare of all the animals in his arc.

“The falconry side of things used to fund the centre but since Covid we’ve not been allowed to operate, so we’ve been relying on the generosity of the local community,” said Tim.

“Local people have been amazing, we’re so appreciative, but now it’s getting difficult.

“When we couldn’t run the business during the pandemic we were only offered £64 a week, as Universal Credit. To put that in context it costs us £1,300 just for all the animal feed a month, and that’s without any vets’ fees.

“If we can’t solve this issue we’re going to be forced to shut and if we shut these animals will have nowhere to go.”

You can find out more about the fundraiser and make a donation by visiting the JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rhayaderwildlife-rescue.