Oxfordshire animal sanctuary has nominated a farm which supported them for this year's Local Business Charity Award.

Based near Brackley, Pillow Wad is a producer of high-quality hay, herbs, wood shavings and animal beddings.

Springfield Sanctuary, run by Joanne Sammons from Banbury, concentrates its efforts on taking care of and finding permanent homes for smaller animals, mostly rodents and birds, but a snake also lives there.

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They learned about Pillow Wad by chance, when some of their products were donated to them by a member of the public.

In the nomination Ms Sammons wrote: "They were local, we loved the products, but with quality also comes cost, and this was not a budget brand.

"We were a fledgling charity just finding our feet and desperately trying to find ways to make ends meet while building the sanctuary.

Food and beddings are a huge part of sanctuary's budget, as straw, hay, shavings and beddings needed cost more than £100 a month.

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But they decided to contact Pillow Wad and ask for support: "We asked, if we were to set up an account with them, could we possibly get a discount, or some free samples to give away to people who adopt pets from us.

"The email back was short but very promising, asking us to give them a call that afternoon and saying 'if you can pick up from here we will be able to work wonders'.

"And they certainly did!", Ms Sammons exclaimed.

Herald Series:

"On our first visit we were shocked to have our vehicle loaded with products: hay, straw, eco-nest bedding, wood shavings, and we were astonished that this was a gift!

"We figured this was a one off but when we returned a few weeks later for more, we were greeted with the same amazing donation of everything we needed.

"This was great in our early days and allowed us to save and buy new enclosures."

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Springfield Sanctuary was established, when Ms Sammons and her sons stumbled across a wood pigeon.

"He was in a terrible state. On the ground, covered in blood but putting up a fight to get to cover showing he still had a real will to live.

"We decided we had to give him a chance and took him home, all the time expecting him not to make it. But he did make it home, and did survive the night.

"As the days went on and Valiant - as we named him - got better I realised that this was it, this was what I could do.

"I looked around locally and felt the town needed a sanctuary to care for injured wildlife, and I also saw that small animals didn't seem to be offered the same rehoming opportunities as larger animals."

Herald Series:

In 2018 the new enclosures, built thanks to Pillow Wad's support, were in full use: a rabbit gave birth to seven kits just three days after arriving to the sanctuary, 22 ducklings had just hatched and joined other adult rabbits, small pets and wildlife.

But Pillow Wad was there for them all the time: "As our needs grew so too did their donations and support. Soon it was not just the basics. For our baby rabbits we were offered special hay to help mum with her milk production. When we had some of the new adult arrivals neutered we were given Immune Boosting Hedgerow Herbs. When the babies were bigger and exploring we were given Hidey Houses, which were not even on public sale yet.

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"They kept up with our social media and so always knew the perfect products to give. And in all this time they have never taken a penny from us in return."

"Without their support I feel we would have had to throw in the towel by now due to spiralling costs. They are heroes of our charity and deserve to be recognised."

Pillow Wad was founded in 1988 and provides its customers with hay and straw crops.

Supporting local charities is not the only way of contributing. The company advertises by assuring that "the hay we supply is the greenest in the market" and has also installed 200 solar panels to reduce its carbon footprint.

Pillow Wad is one of six businesses and three individuals nominated for 2019 Oxfordshire Business Charity Awards to compete for prizes worth over £2,000, which are sponsored by insurance brokers A-Plan and Jelf with the Oxford Mail’s media partnership.

The finals will be held on Thursday, August 29.


Pillow Wad


Springfield Sanctuary


2019 Local Business Charity Awards