Jardim da Aryel (9)

Jardim da Aryel launches fundraiser to buy shelter land

Association needs to raise €75,000 by end of year

Lagoa-based animal association Jardim da Aryel is seeking to raise €75,000 by the end of the year in order to buy the plot of land its shelter is located on.

The landowners have informed the association that they plan on selling the land at the start of next year, having given the association the option to purchase the land or vacate the site.

The news has not come as a surprise but poses yet another huge challenge for an association which already cares for over 200 cats, 12 dogs and three goats.

“We knew this day would come. The landowners had been kind enough to let us use the land until now,” founder Irene Nunes told the Resident.

Jardim da Aryel

As the life-long animal lover explained, relocating is not an option as the shelter is already completely equipped and set up, meaning that moving to a new location would only prove costlier.

“We have already invested a lot on this site. We are being offered a very generous price (€60,000), while the remaining €15,000 is being raised to cover the remaining costs related to the purchase,” she said.

Simply running the shelter is a daily challenge, even more so considering that Jardim da Aryel almost exclusively takes in cats with illnesses or disabilities.

Jardim da Aryel

“People often see our cats and are amazed by how beautiful they look. But that is how they look after being treated. Many of them arrive in very poor condition,” Irene explained, adding that nearly all of the association’s budget is spent on “extremely expensive” veterinarian bills and food.

Indeed, feeding the over 200 animals in its care can cost around €1,000 per month – a substantial fee for a non-profit and volunteer-based association which relies on subsidies from the local council and donations from animal lovers.

Despite the association’s hard work, animal abandonment remains a serious issue in Lagoa and neighbouring boroughs.

Jardim da Aryel

“We are always picking up new animals, sometimes even outside Lagoa in areas like Portimão,” the animal lover said.

The association’s work is so important to the borough that Irene refuses to consider any outcome except success for the fundraiser.

“We are going to do it because we have to, there’s no other way,” she said.

Jardim da Aryel

A GoFundMe page has already been launched where anyone can make a donation of their choosing, while Irene is planning to host events throughout the year aimed at raising awareness to the association’s plight and collecting donations.

The association is also welcoming volunteers, particularly for weekdays. Speaking Portuguese is not a requirement, Irene said, as many foreign volunteers have helped out over the years.

Jardim da Aryel is named in honour of the first paraplegic cat that Irene owned.

“When Aryel died, I promised myself that if I ever created an animal association, I would name it after her,” Irene told us in 2019 at the time of the association’s launch.

By Michael Bruxo
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