The first Green Street Green Tweet Up on 12 February 2018 was the 20th event, previously known as Orpington Tweet up, which launched in February 2013.
Generously sponsored by local Green Street Green estate agent, Edmund's, Tweet Ups are FREE community events to encourage responsible use of social media but also to promote local activities and projects - contributors and those interested in learning more about what's happening in the Orpington area are all welcome.
NEXT ONE: Monday 1 July 2019 at 7:45pm at The Greenwood Centre, Green Street Green - focussing on a theme TBC relevant to the local area.
IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEXT THEME, PLEASE EMAIL US SO THEY CAN BE CONSIDERED - if you would like to come along and speak or are interested in promoting local organisations and events, please contact us.
Book your place on Eventbrite Click on links to Download Poster and Agenda (when available)
Any local organisations which would like to participate and promote their activities, please email Margot Rohan
To see previous Tweet Ups, visit the Orpington Community website: Orpington Tweet Up
r8 April 2019 - Animal Rescue and Welfare
Jean Hildrew from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home gave an illuminating history:
She has been a volunteer for 7 years. She brought a rescue dog with her - Dixie, a Labradoodle found abandoned three kilos underweight. Jean is an Intake Socialiser but also cleans kennels, does laundering etc. and helps at fundraising events.
Battersea Dogs Home was founded in Holloway in 1850 by Mary Tealby, who sadly died 5 years later. There is no photograph of her. In 1883 cats started to be taken in. Battersea Old Windsor started up in 1979 and Little Brands Hatch 10 years later. In 2002 the name was changed to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. It was rebranded in 2018, with a cartoon logo.
In 2018 7,000 animals were helped with rehoming and reuniting with families - 3,000 were cats. 9 dogs and 7 cats are taken in every day on average. 250 dogs and 120 cats are regularly in residence. 65% are handed in ('gifted') and 30% are strays but the latter have reduced in numbers. 1,225 animals were reunited with their original owners. Dolly, a dog, was resident for 400 days but is now happily rehomed.
The lost animals line received 3,000 calls plus 3,500 from people who had found animals.
In 2015 a new block with a veterinary hospital was built at Battersea. A lot of the funds came from the Northern Line, which is being built under Battersea.
There is also an Academy to help smaller rescue centres all over the world. Battersea is involved in international campaigns. Its biggest concern is dogs sold online.
Volunteers back up staff to ensure animals get the best care. Battersea is an expert in championing vulnerable dogs and cats. Now it looks outwards much more.
There are 500 staff and about 800 volunteers (not all active at the same time). All dogs have medical assessments. In an emergency they go to a local vet. Every dog has an ICP (individual care plan). Care is taken in matching animals with new owners. 'Forever Loved' provides lifetime support to all owners.
There are different ways in which people can volunteer. Bedding is always needed:
Fashionable breeds also appear, such as chihuahua, greyhounds, lurchers, pugs - the latter often need face operations for breathing difficulties. Mongrels are much rarer now.
There is also a working dogs co-ordinator. Battersea had the first staffie to work in a prison. A lot of spaniels go to working homes.
Jean related stories about a couple of Battersea's rehomed dogs:
Peggy, a collie/staffie/russell cross, did not like doors. She was fostered for a long time but, after a year, a country home was found for her and she has now come to terms with doors.
Dolly, an American bull dog, found her face did not fit. However, a man turned up who had lost his dog. He was on his own and it was a marriage made in heaven.
Lucas Rudge from Reptile Events explained the pros and cons of keeping reptiles as pets:
Lucas is the owner. He started out doing the PR side for another rescue centre but ended up taking it over. It is now run as a rescue centre with PR and education. His passion is myth and legend-busting and he aims to reach people who are not interested in reptiles, in order to save them. He and members of his team visit schools, country shows etc - anywhere where they can educate people. They handle all reptiles apart from terrapins and turtles - up to 18 feet long.
They are the only reptile rescue service in the south east and no equipment is available for handling snakes over 12 feet. Lucas recounted an incident where he collected an 18ft python. He had been told it was only 12 feet so was not equipped to manage it. Two people struggled to get it into the box to transport it and eventually succeeded after some time.
The law has been changed so that children under 16 years cannot own a reptile. Many people buy snakes for children, not understanding the issues. Snakes are active at night. They are good pets but have a 50 year lifespan and are well-known for going off their food. They can go for 3-6 months without eating. They do not need to be fed live food - appropriate food can be purchased online and kept frozen. It needs to be defrosted and warmed up before offering it to snakes, as they have heat vision, so will not see it is food if it is not warm.
They mainly do house rescues. The oldest pet rescued was only 18 months old. Fashion snakes have been bred in different colours but the governing body has now banned different coloured non-natural snakes. Wild rescues are mainly grass snakes. People abandon snakes thinking they can survive in the wild – but depends on origin – some snakes need higher temperatures.Snakes get dumped as people think they will cope in the wild, without realising they may not survive in a cold climate.
Project work involves going to events where people have not seen wild animals.
In over 10 years of handling 2,000 snakes per year Lucas has only been bitten 4 times.
Anyone can contact the centre for help and advice.
Kylie Simons from Ashmore Veterinary Centre talked about her work:
The Ashmore Centre was started in 2013 by Hilary La Thrope and daughter Sarah. Hilary is a very experienced surgeon. She tries to be more affordable for people. In 2014 Kylie joined with a nurse. There are three full time vets and one part-time, plus 4 nurses.
Ashmore also covers low cost referrals and rescue work. They advise people how to care better for their animals. They work with Pro-Dogs Direct based in Aldershot, which takes on puppy farm dogs without making any judgments. Sometimes they are in an awful state, scared, never having been outside.
Kylie related the case of Fudge, a young girl lurcher dog with a broken leg.– The owner did not have money to pay for the dog's treament. Ashmore fixed the broken leg and looked after Fudge for several months, before finding a new owner.
Another case involved a Border Terrier. Ashmore received a phone call from Companion Care in Orpington. They had found the dog abandoned, collapsed and unable to stand., weighing just three kilos instead of eight to nine. Blood results revealed the dog was severely malnourished and anaemic. Ashmore had a greyhound blood donor and gave the terrier a blood transfusion. Within 2-3 weeks it recovered and they found new owners.
A young Russian blue cat was brought into the Centre with an awful skin condition and no hair. It is now fully recovered and living in Green Street Green.
Bull dogs and pugs often need surgery for breathing problems. A lot get rehomed. Sometimes they have to sedate dogs if they will not allow vaccinations, nail clipping etc.
Kylie explained that they are always looking for dogs to be blood donors. Good donors are 1-8yrs old, over 25 kilos and up to date with vaccinations and worming.
Sharon Baldwin, Executive Director of Orpington 1st, gave an update on the latest activities in the High Street:
The Orpington BID (Business Improvement District) consists of 350 businesses, which contribute by paying an extra 1.5% on their business rates. The Council passes on the money to Orpington 1st.
There is a ballot every five years voting on continuing the BID. It is now in its 6th year. A majority of 90% of businesses voted in favour - a very high rate. There are 320 BIDs across UK. Retail is struggling. Large national companies were propping it up but now most of the big names are in serious financial trouble.
In Orpington there are 225 ground floor units, shops and restaurants. There are another 100 units above the shops and these are becoming more important in holding the town centre together. Employees in offices come out and boost the lunchtime trade, with more customers at weekends. New service sectors are being encouraged into the High Street. There are branches of all five main national banks, which is very rare. They bring in smaller businesses.
There is a new policy to convert retail to residential, with the need for more housing. There has been mixed response to this as now too many small units are being converted, which is detrimental in smaller town centres. A lot of work is needed to maintain what exists. A new structure is needed to build town centres of the future. How will they look, how big should they be, how many coffee shops can exist? What about markets? New activities are required as people want to do different, exciting things. New challenges must be anticipated to ensure Orpington town centre delivers them. Orpington 1st has spoken to the Council about doing a development plan for the area. 6 years later the process has started. The first consultation meeting was three weeks ago. Jo Johnson, senior local politicians, Knoll RA ad others all met to think about what is needed. It is important to ensure the right project is wanted by everyone. Orpington 1st has put in a bid for £200,000 to prepare a proper consultation document with architects etc. If successful, there will be nine months for a public consultation. The Council has been asked to be as open and transparent as possible and to involve local people. If the bid is unsuccessful, LBB has agreed that Orpington is the most important area in the borough. The Walnuts will be key to what happens in that area, as two main areas are no longer fit for purpose.
There is not enough in the shopping centre but what is needed? What does Orpington want to be known for? In the market what should we have? Far more housing will be brought into the centre. What balance of housing is needed to support the commercial business? The voice of local residents must be strong to express what they want, particularly in terms of the leisure offer - swimming pool etc.?
Orpington has great transport links but still wants to be better connected. Connectivity between the High Street and Nugent centre is being considered. Another focal point is Biggin Hill, where an Aviation College is being built , which will offer new opportunities. There will also be a new hotel for aircraft staff.
The cost of running physical shops is increasing as more people are buying online. However, in Orpington the vacancy rate is 7% which is lower than the average 11%.
Current developments include:
Orpington 1st will continue putting on events in the square, which the businesses in the High Street finance.
Crockenhill Second Chance Animal Rescue was unable to attend due to being called out to an incident of horses in the road.
(For further information on any of the organisations, click on the underlined green links)
Trustee and Secretary, Green Street Green Association
Posts are made by members of the Association to stimulate interest and raise local concerns
See Orpington Community for discussion of issues across a wider area
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Green Street Green Association (CIO) is a registered charity no.1172661