By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]
Global economic difficulties don’t just affect big businesses and in the Algarve the Lagos animal Protection Society (LAPS) is feeling the effects of financial cutbacks as donations decrease and abandoned animals increase.
However, for 82-year old Bridget Hicks, the founder of LAPS, this is not the time to sit back and simply hope for the best. Instead, she has opened a new charity shop in Lagos to try and muster new funding.
At the start of the month, Bridget opened the shop behind the São Gonçalo private hospital in Lagos, describing it as being one “with a difference”.
Bridget Hicks told the Algarve Resident: “We opened up the shop on my birthday but we had nothing to sell! I wanted to at least start to build some interest in the shop and we have had a lot of people popping their head in to have a look and they seemed interested in the idea.”
After struggling through the winter months with little help, and even less funding support, Bridget has opened the shop to try and help to pay for the animals she personally houses at her home.
“I have calls from people from across the Algarve who ring to try and home their doggies. I even had a call from someone in the Alentejo who needed help, but I simply do not have enough space here for them,” said Bridget.
“I have tried to cope on my own but I have no money left to pay for food and vets bills and need help. That is why I have opened up the shop to generate some new interest, although I often think I must be mad to be taking on more!”
For more than 30 years, Bridget has dedicated her life to helping the animals of the Algarve.
Having been involved in animal welfare work in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and the Philippines, Bridget was “horrified” to discover, when she first arrived in the Algarve in 1979, that there was no animal welfare society in existence.
Bridget said: “Through the kindness of Peter Salt, we were loaned premises to open the first charity shop in the Algarve. There are now many in Portugal and unfortunately with the competition of other budget shops, things are becoming more difficult.
“Rather than compete with budget price shops already in existence, we would like to welcome visitors to our new elegant premises and hope to make it a meeting place for many international and Portuguese animal lovers in the Algarve.”
She added: “There will be many lovely things for sale in the shop and every Euro that you spend, you do so knowing that it will benefit the animals in our care, not only to pay for the food bills but also helping with vets expenses.
“I have already contributed my land and my house to the cause and will continue to do all that I can to help. I hope this new venture will help us to continue to help the animals.”
For further information about LAPS, please visit www.laps.iperium.com or call 282 687 334