Volunteer with us.

Thornberry operates 365 days a year and we are grateful for the many dedicated volunteers who work alongside our staff to help us ensure that the animals get shown the love and attention they truly deserve while they are in our care.

We place huge importance on ensuring that the welfare and comfort of our animals is always to a high standard: and that means working with volunteers to give them a home from home experience. From cuddles on the sofa with a long-term resident right through to jumping out of a plane to raise funds; we will support volunteers to develop the skills to ensure that these animals are happy, healthy, and will be confident when they go to their new homes.

Anyone can help.

There is a role for almost everyone at Thornberry with every team member playing an important part in ensuring that we can keep our doors open for as long as animals need us. Fundraising and our retail roles are vitally important in ensuring that we can continue to pay vets bills, keep the animals fed, and keep the heating on in the winter!

Our animal care volunteers get involved in all aspects of animal care from mucking out to one-to-one enrichment activities such as daily dog walks and grooming.

We really do value the time that volunteers can give: be once a week or once a month and it is a brilliant way to get to know others and learn new skills: if you are interested in learning more, please get in touch!

(Please note that due to insurance restrictions we are currently unable to accept volunteers under 18 years for kennels or farm yard roles or under 16 years for cattery, small animals and onsite fundraising roles.)

How it works.

Step One

Complete our online Volunteer form, letting us know when you are available and which areas of Thornberry you are interested in volunteering at.

Step Two

Speak to our team – once you’ve completed your form, our Volunteer Coordinator will be in touch with you to arrange a chat.

Step Three

Depending on the area you have chosen to volunteer in, you may be required to undergo certain training sessions. Once you’ve completed them, you’re officially a Volunteer at Thornberry – welcome to the team!


What are my options?

Working alongside our animal care team this role covers ensuring a high standard of hygiene is maintained in all animal areas to prevent the risk of disease or infection: as well as providing a comfortable environment for the animals to keep safe in.

Once the chores are done the next priority is animal enrichment: be it joining our team of volunteers to take dogs for walks, grooming, or simply spending time with the animals so that they feel loved. This part of volunteering can be hugely rewarding for both the animals and the volunteers!

Thornberry is an expensive site to run with vets’ bills and heating being just two of our major expenses. This is why our retail team are so important to us: turning in generous donations into security so that we can continue to open our doors to animals in need.

Donation Picker: When a donation arrives at Thornberry a team of our volunteers’ sort through to ensure that it is suitable for resale. If you’re a fan of Bargain Hunt this is the place for you!

Sales Assistant: We need people to man the tills, and help visitors find what they’re looking for. Working alongside our team to create prominent displays to catch the eye and provide that welcoming atmosphere.

Online Sales: To help us reach even more people we can choose to sell certain donations online: from listing to packaging you’ll be involved in helping us raise extra funds and this role is perfect for people wanting a behind the scenes role

Collection Drivers: We have many local businesses who have donation money tins or collect food and equipment on our behalf. By collecting these regularly, you are not just the face of Thornberry for many of these businesses you are also ensuring we can keep the funds (and tins of dog food) coming in.

From a short-term placement while an animal recovers from surgery or to provide them with respite from the kennels environment, to a longer-term foster for an older animal who may find it hard to find a new home due to particular medical conditions that need to be carefully managed. We rely on the generosity of volunteers prepared to work alongside our animal care teams to welcome an animal into their home so that they can provide them with the dedicated one to one care that they need in a quiet and calm environment.

Fosterers are fully supported during the fostering process and must be available during the week to bring the animals to our veterinary centre for medical treatment and check-ups, and also for meet and greets with potential new homes.

Thornberry realises its responsibility towards the community that continues to be so generous in supporting us. This is why we like to give back where ever possible by offering work-based placements and volunteering opportunities to empower people with disabilities (both physical and mental) helping give them a stepping stone into paid employment as well as a sense of belonging to both the community that resides in Thornberry itself but also across South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire.

Volunteering has the ability to boost an individual’s confidence and provide a sense of purpose, and we are proud to play a part in a person’s development through their time with us. We are keen to continue to work with local organisations to create even more opportunities and projects so that Thornberry can continue to provide opportunities in the future. Please email: volunteers@thornberryanimalsanctuary.org

From level 2 in animal care at a local college right through to a BSC in Animal Management we understand the importance of getting hands on experience with a variety of animals in different circumstances as part of your learning and development. We have students on placement varying from a one-week work experience to staying us for two years gaining practical hours for their qualification. As each course requires different requirements, we work on a bespoke basis making your placement unique to you to help you reach the goals you set and will fully support you every step of the way in your educational journey.

Institutions we currently have students on placement from: Barnsley College, Rotherham College, Hillsborough College, Leeds Beckett University, Rotherham Opportunities College.

If you are a college looking to place students with us please contact: volunteers@thornberryanimalsanctuary.org

If you are a student looking for a placement please complete the volunteer application form.

Become a volunteer.

There is always a voluntary role for anyone who wants to help out at Thornberry. Please complete a volunteer application form and we will be in touch.

Thornberry Animal Sanctuary Corporate Volunteering

Volunteering at Thornberry is a great way to spend my time; not only does it keep me physically and mentally well (and busy!), it’s good for my peace of mind knowing that I’m helping the animals. There’s always something that needs doing and I’m always up for a challenge’

Ann Dawson | Volunteer at Thornberry Animal Sanctuary’s Todwick Road Site