Forever Friends Animal Rescue set for accessibility boost

Forever Friends Animal Rescue is investing an $8000 grant into improving accessibility for special needs volunteers. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Callum Ludwig

Forever Friends Animal Rescue (FFAR) is set to put an $8000 grant towards making the Sanctuary more accessible for volunteers of all abilities.

Having been awarded the grant by the Upper Yarra Community Enterprise in their 2024 Community Grants program, the funding is going towards their ‘Special Needs Project’, improving venue and tool accessibility for volunteers.

Partnerships and Development Manager at FFAR Jenny White said in 2024, part of their focus is to expand and enhance the opportunities they can offer young people with special needs.

“FFAR has become an important community hub, especially for the most marginalised and vulnerable members of the community,” she said.

“We are proud of the fact we remain the charity of last resort for desperate animals in Victoria and are equally proud of the support we can offer many young adults with special needs,”

“Visiting the Sanctuary gives them a sense of belonging and a unique opportunity to work with the amazing animals and the volunteers who care for them 24/7, 365 days a year.”

The grant will help FFAR to provide a special needs parking bay next to the community room, a pathway providing wheelchair access to the community room, kitchen and bathroom facilities and tools and equipment for volunteers with special needs so that those who are able can help care for the animals and participate in a wide range of farm activities and projects.

With animal rescue centres and facilities inundated across the country, all assistance goes a long way and Ms White said despite some wonderful success stories, they continue to be inundated with calls for help.

“FFAR takes in some of the most desperate animals in need who have abandoned or suffered unimaginable neglect and cruelty, including starvation,” she said.

“In the aftermath of Covid, and now, in the face of a continuing economic crisis, the situation has become critical and we never have enough hours in the day or hands to help the growing line of animals waiting to be rescued,”

“It’s easy to tell when a human is suffering, animals don’t have a voice, but their eyes say it all.”