Moreno Animal Welfare Hardship Fund

With the appointment of Alex Smith as Head of Compliance (aka Whakapapa), and Moreno having turned eighteen (18) recently, we (Sandra and Chris) agreed it was the right time to Launch the NBCC Moreno Animal Welfare Fund.

We already have a strong animal welfare focus in NBCC, and this fund will not replace the work we do to help raise awareness and funds for the various causes we support. All too often though we come across a cat or dog that charities can´t help: and in many cases these are pets whose owners are struggling with a variety of issues – mental health, financially, illness, or other circumstances out of their control.

The fund will look to help these owners with financial support, ideally in the form of donations repayable as when the owners can. We will use our own money initially to set this up, and where an owner can afford to repay us that money will go towards helping other owners and their pets, as will money we raise through Go Fund Me and Social Media campaigns.

The fund will be managed by Sandra, Alex and Chris with all three having to agree on a case, with priority given to the animals welfare. We will look at other cases e.g. rescue animals in long term care, animals requiring immediate surgery and we will also look to develop ongoing educational and support packages.

Background (Chris & Sandra)

Animal Welfare has been an increasingly important part of our lives since we “took a year out” in 2006 to decide what we would do next with our lives. As it worked out the decision was made for us on 14th November 2006 when we adopted Moreno.

Moreno: simply the best and the reason for our efforts to give animals a better life, some whakapapa. (More Photos)

We made the decision to base ourselves in Spain in February 2006. We had bought the Apartment in 2000 and had used it for short breaks, and then as a base every six weeks (alternating with the Condo in Florida), and it was then that Sandra started helping to feed the local stray cats with a neighbour.

Whilst the cats needed food and water, we knew that in many ways this was only adding to the problem as a healthy cat breeds more, so we started to raise funds to sterilise the cats.

One of the cats at the end of our street really caught our eye, and so on Tuesday 14th November 2006, having already decided that we would adopt Moreno and make Spain our base for the foreseeable future, we walked down to the bins where we fed Moreno in the morning …… and he wasn’t there! Fortunately he was later that afternoon when we went down again, and he has been with us ever since.

Because of him Sands made contact with a charity in Germany and started her re-homing project which has re-homed over 3,000 Spanish stray cats to homes throughout Germany. Sandra handed over the project to a friend in Almerimar, and it is still re-homing cats every month, and she now volunteers for the Cats Protection as a Branch Welfare Manager.

Because of him I set up the Transport Project initially to address an issue we identified very early on with Sands project, the lack of a reliable, regular and affordable means of transporting the cats to Germany, but it grew into cats and dogs throughout Europe and the UK and when I finally stopped driving I had transported over 10,000 cats and dogs, and driven over 1 million miles. Although not involved anymore, we do help a Romanian Transporter out with some admin, so as with Sands project this project is also continuing to help cats and dogs.

When we closed down the ALStrays Re-Homing and Transport project we said:

This is not the end of our desire to help animals in need by any means. We have a new venture in place: No Boundaries Cricket Club, a Community Interest Company and this will be our next focus, which will include a number of specific animal welfare causes that we will support.

This welfare fund is that new venture.

Background (Alex)

Growing up in Australia, my family were animal lovers.  At any given moment in my childhood, our early twentieth century bungalow – built in the classic colonial style, with a wide verandah and a large backyard, in suburban Adelaide – was home to cats, dogs, fish, birds, chickens and a large rabbit, which we briefly adopted from our local primary school while a permanent home was found for it, after the teachers became overwhelmed by its care.  My mother was also a keen rider and has owned horses at various times during her life.

Because animals had always been part of the fabric of family life when I was young, I have always valued the presence of pets and understood the benefits – for humans and animals alike – of keeping animals as part of your family.  When I finally ‘settled’ in the house I currently rent, after my divorce and a major mental health crisis, I was determined to adopt a rescue cat.  I knew this would help me considerably, mentally and emotionally, but I was keen also to provide an animal looking for love with a stable and secure home.  It helped that I had a landlord – my brother – who also loves animals, so I began the process of making enquiries with a local cat sanctuary in early 2020, hoping to adopt.

Lilly: cats and cricket could Alex be any better suited for the role!?
I said …. listen to me, we need your help!

My plans were unexpectedly paused when Britain went into lockdown during the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, though by then I had been ‘approved’ by the cat sanctuary as a potential home for one of their animals.  I remember feeling very proud when I received their seal of approval … and then the weight of responsibility as I took another step towards adopting a cat.  I met Lilly in the summer of 2020; she came home with me days later and we haven’t looked back since.  She was a wonderful companion to me during the long winter lockdown at the end of that year and I can only assume that she, too, is a cricket fan, given how comfortable she is sleeping on any bags or kit I acquire for the game!

Of course, that many people rushed to ‘rescue’ cats, dogs and other animals during those months of the pandemic only to abandon them later – a tragic set of circumstances only worsened by the cost of living crisis for many families – speaks, sadly, to an urgent need that we hope to address through the Moreno Hardship Fund.