helpwildlife.co.uk is a charity run advice website which is part of the Starlight Trust


Use the tabs below to view our various policies.

Directory Standards

We work hard to ensure that the information in our directory is up to date. We have a small number of volunteers, but they are active daily in checking the listings to make sure the information we publish is correct, and we aim to check each live listing at least every six months. To help with this we encourage visitors to use the feedback facility on each listing to let us know the result of their attempt to contact the rescue. We also gather feedback from those who contact our helpdesk.

Periodically we are contacted by people who believe a rescue should not be listed in our directory. Our intention is simply to provide finders of casualties with details of wildlife rescues in their area without endorsement. We are not, nor would we wish to be, any sort of authority or governing body of rescues. Ensuring standards in rescue is a huge issue and one which the government and RSPCA shy away from so there’s no way our tiny organisation could take on this responsibility. At present there are no requirements placed on UK wildlife rescues in terms of licensing or registration though, should that change, we would, of course, work to incorporate that into our directory.

Of course, we don’t want to be pointing visitors to rescues where there are proven problems. We expect the rescues listed in our directory to operate honestly, openly and without prejudice, putting wild animal welfare first in everything they do. If you have genuine concerns about one of the rescues listed, we suggest the following action

  1. Contact the rescue yourself setting out your concerns and what you think needs to change. We recommend doing this in writing and keeping a copy of both your correspondence and their reply.
  2. If you are unhappy with their response or don’t believe changes have been made you should contact
    • The Police if you believe a crime has been committed
    • The RSPCA if you believe animal cruelty or neglect has taken place
    • The Charity Commission or HMRC if you believe a charity is being mis-managed or there may be tax issues
    • Action Fraud if you believe there has been fraudulent activity
  3. Send us a copy of your correspondence with the rescue and the relevant authorities along with any evidence of wrongdoing.

Please note, we will not act based on gossip and hearsay. Keep in mind that we have no power over rescues (nor would we want it) – making an allegation to us alone will do nothing to change the rescue’s practices. This is why any allegation to us must be accompanied by correspondence with the rescue and relevant regulatory bodies.

We will remove a rescue from the public directory if we are sent compelling evidence that any of the following have taken place, been raised with the rescue, and raised with the relevant authorities: –

  • discriminatory practices concerning people or animals e.g., racism, sexism, homophobia etc, or harmful action towards animals based on prejudice (not legal status or facilities)
  • fraudulent behaviour such as misrepresenting what they do or any qualifications/expertise/facilities they have, or misusing donated funds
  • failure to meet, as far as is practicable when a wild animal is in rescue, the five freedoms of animal welfare
  • failure to seek veterinary attention when needed including euthanasia to relieve suffering when necessary
  • ending the life of an animal other than to relieve suffering/end a life assessed to have no quality. This includes, for example, culling animals to reduce numbers. It does not include euthanising animals which cannot be returned to the wild either for health or legal reasons
  • knowingly giving incorrect advice to members of the public seeking help
  • responding unprofessionally to reasonable questions, challenge, or criticism

To raise a concern, please complete the following form

Privacy Notice

Helpwildlife.co.uk, as part of the Starlight Trust is committed to maintaining the trust and confidence of our partners, supporters and visitors to our website. We will only ever collect information about you as necessary to carry out our day to day operations and meet our objectives. We won’t be plaguing you with donation requests or selling your info to marketers. The Privacy Policy below sets out in more detail what we’ll collect and why but if you have any questions not answered here, please feel free to get in touch and ask.

What information is being collected, how, why, and how will it be used?

Information about wildlife rescue(r)s is collected in order to provide a directory of wildlife rescue(r)s in the UK. This information will be published on our web pages with some information hidden if we have reason to believe the rescue is temporarily or permanently closed, the organisation is deemed not suitable to be included in our directory, or the rescue requests its removal. Where a rescue(r) signs up to the Community Heroes level of our directory, details will only be available to our volunteers and not visible to the public. This information is collected either through our submission forms or by web based research. This includes contact information, information about opening times and policies, and any comments made via our feedback facility. When we receive sensitive information about rescue behaviour, such as concerns raised about their conduct or advice, this is generally stored privately and not published on the website. Information provided may also be used by our volunteers to make contact with rescuer(s) to check that the information held is correct and they are still able to help with sick and injured wildlife. In exceptional circumstances, we may use the information gathered to form a mailing list to issue a group communication to wildlife rescuers where doing so would further the aims of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in the UK. An ‘unsubscribe’ option will always be included. The legal basis for this processing is our legitimate interests in forming and publishing a database of wildlife rescuer(r)s in the UK.

Through our helpdesk, some information is collected about those who contact us such as email addresses and approximate location. We do not usually request a full address or phone number but this is sometimes submitted. In these cases our volunteers will try to delete unnecessary information. Where this is not possible, the information is stored in accordance with the policies of our parent charity, the Starlight Trust. Information gathered about those who contact our helpdesk will be used only to provide advice and support to them in finding help with their situation. For educational purposes, anonymised stories and pictures may be shared on our social media but will never include any identifying information. We will never use the contact information of those who contact our helpdesk to solicit donations. Sometimes our email replies to helpdesk enquiries go into spam folders. In order to help us track this issue and find a resolution we utilise email tracking software. The legal basis for this processing is our legitimate interests in providing advice to members of the public who have found sick and injured wildlife.

Information is collected about those who donate towards our work. This may only be an email address if, for example, you donate via PayPal. If you opt to allow us to collect Gift Aid, we will need to record your full name and address in order to claim this back from HMRC. This information is handled in accordance with the policies of our parent charity the Starlight Trust. The legal basis for this processing is our legitimate interests in maintaining a record of donations and being able to claim Gift Aid.

You can view these policies at starlighttrust.org.uk/about-us/privacy-and-data-protection/

Will information be shared with anyone else?

Information about wildlife rescue(r)s in our main directory will be published on the web. It will not be shared in other formats e.g. as a bulk mailing list. Information about ‘Community Heroes’ will only be shared with individual members of the public where specific consent has been given to do so.

Information about those who contact our helpdesk will only ever be shared, with explicit consent, with rescue(r)s who may be able to provide additional help and support with their situation.

Donor information will never be shared with anyone outside of the Starlight Trust other than with HMRC to claim back Gift Aid where appropriate.

Retaining Information

Some information about rescue(r)s is generally held indefinitely e.g. within the change history of our webpages and database, even when a listing is removed from our live directory. This is to enable listings to be edited and reinstated quickly and to prevent removed listings being added again in error. As a minimum we will retain, and continue to publish, the name and location of the rescue(r) and the reason why the listing was removed from the directory search results.

We do not have a deletion policy for donors and those who contact our helpdesk and will generally retain this information indefinitely but will delete it on request.

Your rights

You are entitled to
• Access the personal data we hold
• Have any inaccurate data about you rectified
• Have your data erased in some circumstances
• Lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority if you consider that our processing of your data infringes data protection laws.

If you wish to have data published in our directory changed, please visit helpwildlife.co.uk/guidance-for-rescues/ to learn how to claim and edit a listing. For other data types please email [email protected]

Data Protection Policy

Helpwildlife.co.uk is committed to ensuring any personal data is handled in compliance with the law. Personal information will:

• Be obtained fairly and lawfully and shall not be processed unless certain conditions are met
• Be obtained for a specific and lawful purpose
• Be adequate, relevant but not excessive
• Be accurate and kept up to date
• Not be held longer than necessary
• Be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects
• Be subject to appropriate security measures
• Not to be transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEA)

Helpwildlife.co.uk will take steps to ensure that personal data is kept secure at all times against unauthorised or unlawful loss or disclosure.

Volunteer Agreement

In order to meet our objectives, the following agreement sets out what we expect from our volunteers and what you can, in turn expect from us.

We will

  • consider all volunteer applications fairly without regard for gender, sexuality, race, nationality, religion, social background or disability
  • be clear about what is required of you and provide adequate information and assistance to enable you to meet your responsibilities
  • respect your skills, contribution, individual wishes and needs and be receptive to any feedback you have on your role
  • reimburse any expenses incurred in a timely manner
  • consult with you and keep you informed of possible changes

You, the volunteer, agree to

  • carry out your role to the best of your abilities
  • always act in a professional manner and treat those you come into contact with during your voluntary work with respect, consideration and appreciation
  • keep in touch, notifying us promptly of any change of contact details
  • let us know, with as much notice as possible, if you are unable to complete a task or no longer wish to be involved with a project

Volunteers accessing data held regarding those using our services, supporters and other volunteers further agree to

  • regard all information you have access to or are given as a result of your volunteering as confidential unless advised otherwise
  • in no way divulge, copy, release, sell, loan, review, alter or destroy any such information except as properly authorised within the scope of your volunteer position
  • as required by law, comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act of 1998
  • not retain any copies of confidential information accessed as part of your volunteer role should you cease at any time for be a volunteer of the trust.

Cookie Policy

This site uses cookies – small text files that are placed on your machine to help the site provide a better user experience. In general, cookies are used to retain user preferences, store information for things like shopping carts, and provide anonymised tracking data to third party applications like Google Analytics. As a rule, cookies will make your browsing experience better. However, you may prefer to disable cookies on this site and on others. The most effective way to do this is to disable cookies in your browser. We suggest consulting the Help section of your browser or taking a look at the About Cookies website which offers guidance for all modern browsers.