Animal welfare charity opens new shop in Leighton Buzzard.

The National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) is the latest charity to move into Leighton Buzzard with a new shop on Lake Street.
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They have moved into the retail unit which used to house the Re Fashion shop, and will be raising vital funds for their Bedfordshire animal rescue centre near Woburn Sands.

The NAWT took over (what was) HULA Animal Rescue in 2017. The centre was on the verge of having to close when the NAWT very kindly stepped in to rescue it, adding another centre to the four others they currently have dotted around the south of England.

Since then, the centre has gone from strength to strength, and has recently started a much-needed and long-overdue refurbishment of the ageing centre’s facilities. In 2023 the centre embarked on a massive and costly programme of works, which included a new asphalted driveway, brand new dog kennels, and new cattery buildings. Now with the increased animal housing capacity, they are able to offer private dog and cat boarding to the local community, which helps to bring in necessary funds to run the centre.

A few of the opening day attendees, including the mayor and the charity's CEO.A few of the opening day attendees, including the mayor and the charity's CEO.
A few of the opening day attendees, including the mayor and the charity's CEO.

Further works are planned to complete the full refurbishment once additional funds have been raised, and the new NAWT Leighton Buzzard shop will play a key role in helping to fund this.

They held their grand opening on Saturday, March 23, which was well attended by the centre manager, the mayor, some of the centre’s volunteers, the CEO of the charity, and other NAWT head office staff. The ribbon cutting ceremony was performed by long-standing and dedicated fundraising volunteer Rosemary Hewitt, who was the opening day guest of honour, and did a fantastic job formally opening the shop.

Debbie Page, the charity’s area retail manager, summed up the event perfectly: "We are proud and happy to say that the grand opening of our Leighton Buzzard shop was a great success. We welcomed many customers, and some four-legged friends, raising funds for our Bedfordshire Centre. We are looking forward to being part of the Leighton Buzzard community!"

The shop is offering the usual charity shop fayre, such as clothing, shoes, and accessories, as well as the ubiquitous bric-a-brac. They are also selling some gorgeous cat and dog-themed items like mugs, bags, and pencil cases, which will make perfect gifts for animal-loving friends and family. All funds raised at the shop will go directly to support the local Bedfordshire branch.

Opening hours are 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday. Well-behaved dogs are most welcome to come into the shop with their humans and the staff will be delighted to meet them. So, bring along your furry friend to pick up a bargain or two and support a very worthwhile cause.

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