Newsletter – March 2024

Welcome back to the Island Community Haven CIC newsletter,

We’ve taken some time over the winter to evaluate our social media strategy, identify key community events and pencil them into our calendar. We want to thank you all for your continued support and we’re excited to see what 2024 has installed for our community.

You can expect to learn more about key dates for your calendar, animal care updates, general news, grant and fundraising updates as well as our BOLO list (Be On The Lookout).

Events & Key Dates

Although our toughest and most loyal volunteers continue to brave the cold weather during the winter months, for the most part, community efforts and meetups are put on hold. Instead, our community leads are working hard in the background to organise worthwhile opportunities for the upcoming warmer months (April-November).

Key dates to note:

Weekly animal welfare meetups: Sunday, 10 am start. Come along and feed, muck out and fuss our animals, no experience is required, just a can-do attitude. Find out more here:

Spring Community Meetup: April 28th, 2024. 10 am – 1 pm. Come along to our first full community event of the year and get involved.

Community Allotment Gardening: Restarting on April 28th, alongside the Spring Community Meetup. Meetups will be hosted monthly and the best way to keep up to date is to subscribe to our newsletter and follow on socials. Find out more here:

Animal Care Updates

Donkey Dentist & Sweet Itch:

Charlie and Blue had their annual teeth floating procedure, which was successful, their teeth are perfectly lined-up, which is great to hear. As they’re teenagers now, their teeth are fully erupted and so require annual floating, which means filing down any sharp edges along their molars. It’s super important that this is done annually to prevent ulceration and the development of abscesses on their cheeks and tongue, which of course can lead to further consequences, effecting their eating habits and overall health. Thanks again to Nerissa at GEM Equine who always does a fabulous job – it was great to see the boys were much better behaved than in previous years as they are getting used to the treatment.

As you all know, Charlie the donkey struggles with a condition called Sweet Itch, which leads him to experience itchy skin as a result of an allergy to fly bites. While we have attempted to manage his symptoms over the last few years, with cream and a fly rug during the summer months. He was forever rubbing on fences, flicking his tail, and biting his fur in an attempt to relieve his itchy skin and shoo the pesky flies away. His neck frequently appeared swollen and the constant scratching and rubbing resulted in bald patches throughout his fur, despite our best efforts to provide him with relief. This year we’ve decided to trial the Insol ringworm jab as it has a strange side-effect of relieving Sweet Itch symptoms! It’s usually prescribed as a ringworm treatment but equine keepers all over the UK have found that not only did it cure ringworm, but also led their horses or ponies to experience significant relief during as their Sweet Itch symptoms subsided. It’s not guaranteed to work, but so far, it’s looking promising! Charlie’s neck is no longer inflamed and there have been no signs of itchy skin so far.

Happy Retirement Leo:

We said ‘goodbye for now’ to our gorgeous farm cat, Leo, who has been living with us since he was a kitten. In December, we decided as the colder months were approaching that it was time to retire him as his 12th birthday fast approached. We want to thank him for his service as a fantastic mouser, devoted emotional support cat and all around super friendly and loving guy. And just to clarify, he’s not gone far – he’s living with Zoey and will be back for visits in the warmer months. He’s certainly adjusted well to his new life in a house and can often be seen snoozing next to the radiator and demanding snacks and fuss at all times of the day!

Chicken Coop Repair:

The windy December saw us replacing the chicken coop roof as we arrived at the farm one morning to see the chickens with the wind flowing through their feathers! Those terrible gusts of wind left them without a roof but thankfully with support from The Island Project’s learners, we fixed it up in no time. While the chickens were thankfully left unharmed, we decided to shelter them in the feed room for a few days whilst the storm passed. Now, they’re back in their coop with a sturdy roof to protect them from the elements!

Pig Tusks:

Roderick’s tusks were due their routine trim and we took the opportunity to train up new staff to share skills across the team. His tusks like our hair and nails and are continually growing. In the wild, pigs would usually grind their tusks down on trees and foliage, but as our pigs are domesticated and although we try to recreate their natural environment as much as possible, to save accident or injury to Roderick, we have to file them down ourselves. This is done using a dehorning wire that acts as a saw to trim the overgrowth. It’s not very often we need to trim his tusks, but as they protrude towards his cheek, it’s important that we keep on top of it. Of course, as always, Roderick’s a good boy throughout the process and is rewarded with a yummy snack for good behaviour.

General News

Sadly the colder months takes its toll on our older animals and although we keep them all very warm and comfy with straw, some are not strong enough to make it through. The winter chill isn’t the only issues our animals face, with many of them being rescued we are constantly working hard to keep them in good health, but learning about past injuries at the same time. We take pride knowing we give animals the best second chance to be loved and cared for by so many people here at the farm. We would like to honour the memories of:

  • Derek the sheep passed away in October 2023 from a freak injury to his shoulder. We estimate that he was around 10 years old and we are grateful we got to love him for 7 long years.
  • Pepper the rabbit fought bravely against the E. Cuniculi Virus but sadly it caused significant damage to his nervous system and he was put to sleep.
  • KP aka King Peanut was abandoned in Derbyshire and arrived at the farm in 2021. KP was in awful shape when he came to us but managed to live his life as a strong and relentless protector for 3 whole years.
  • Boris the Guinea Pig, passed of old age.

Upcoming Birthdays:

  • Neno (Llama) Birthday, March 2006 – 18 years old!
  • Charlie (Donkey), 14th March 2011 – 13 years old.

New Arrival:

We’d also like to welcome Daisy aka Daphne the rabbit, Scooby’s new companion. She has settled in with Scooby almost instantly after losing her friend, Lenny, late last year. She’s extremely gentle and has the most beautiful eyelashes you ever did see. The two of them have bonded quickly and are certainly enjoying each other’s company. Thank you to Chloe and her family for choosing The Island to be Daphne’s forever home.

Fundraising Updates

We would like to thank several grant funders who have kindly supported us.

  1. Derbyshire City Council has generously allocated funds to assist with winter energy bills, providing invaluable support to our community.
  2. We are grateful for another grant from Derbyshire City Council, which will enable us to host monthly gardening meetups. These gatherings aim to combat isolation and promote access to fresh, nutritious food.
  3. With the assistance of Foundation Derbyshire, we are excited to announce plans for an eco-friendly toilet to replace our aging portaloos. This initiative aligns with our commitment to sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and enhancing visitor experience at the farm.
  4. Save the Date: Our Spring Community Meetup is scheduled for April 28th! We look forward to welcoming the community for a day filled with engaging activities such as animal care, gardening, and arts & crafts. Proceeds from this event will contribute towards vital improvements for our pigs’ accommodation and perimeter fencing.
  5. Consider supporting our farm directly by browsing our Amazon Wishlist. Your contributions will directly impact our activities, ensuring that every purchase serves a meaningful purpose. Visit the wishlist here: Amazon Wishlist Link.


Be On the Look Out

Preloved Tools – Calling all community members! As we gear up for our Spring Community Day, we’re on the lookout for preloved tools to feature in our tool and plant sale. If you have any unwanted but still functional tools lying around, we’d love to give them a new home. Simply reach out to Jonny at with your donations.

House Plants – A big shoutout to Gayle for her generous donation of Aloe plants for The Island Project’s young participants to repot and utilize for our upcoming Spring Community Day plant sale. If you have any additional houseplants to contribute to this initiative, please don’t hesitate to contact Jonny at Your support is greatly appreciated!

Wood Chip – We’re always in need of woodchips that are safe for our animals and are in contact with local service, getting woodchips actually delivered is the hard part. Please do get in contact if someone you know can help us.

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