Salford City College launch their Outdoor Animal Centre with special guest Molly Robbins from Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers
It was much more than just paddocks, ponies and pythons at the official Salford City College Animal Centre Launch Event last weekend. Members of the local community, current and potential students, a city councillor, and even a TV crew flocked to the College’s Eccles Centre to enjoy a day of fun and feeding, as both new facilities and new faces were presented for the first time.
The official opening saw a range of new animals and species showcased at the Centre which now includes a zoo-zone, paddocks, small mammal enclosures, a wildfowl area and a natural British wildlife enclosure with hedgehog rehabilitation facilities.
A host of representatives were there to talk to guests and young people who are interested in a career with animals, including Manchester Dogs Home, Equine Studies & Ryder’s Farm Equestrian and The Family Pet Show.
But, the event was about more than just students and study. Visitors were not only treated to an ice cream van, a bouncy castle and the chance to meet and feed a large range of animals, reptiles and other creatures at the opening, but they were also given front row seats to filming for the hit Channel 4 show, Extreme Cake Makers.
Molly Robbins from the programme, who is self-confessed animal lover, designed a very special cake especially for the event. She was in attendance along with a TV crew to record exclusive footage for the episode, featuring Salford City College, airing next Easter.
Molly Robbins in filming at the event
The cake, which was based on one the Centre’s most popular characters, Reggie the chameleon, was raffled off and over £100 was raised for Hope View Sensory Farm, who came and accepted the money. This will go towards helping them provide a space for people who live with dementia or Alzheimer’s, allowing them to have a little time-out.
Jennifer Darby, Animal Care tutor said, “As part of the launch, we decided to commission a cake from Molly’s Creative Cakes and invite her to come and help with the grand opening.
“We needed the cake to be striking and as Reggie is a firm favourite with all the staff and students, we decided that he would be a fantastic mascot and a colourful challenge for Molly.”
The centre is home to a range species, including larger mammals such as goats, llamas, alpacas and donkeys, to name just a few. This is as well as the cuddlier of creatures like rabbits, chinchillas and even skunks.
Their indoor facilities, which were officially opened in September of last year, are home to a range of reptiles, invertebrates and amphibians, such as a bearded dragon, carpet python, hermit crabs and of course Reggie the chameleon - amongst many, many more species.
The College has also invested in less common animals like genets, for further educational purposes; and in addition to the substantial animal collections, the department also has 3 science labs, a microbiology lab and a brand new veterinary nursing suite, which have all been created to industry standards.
But this is only the first step in the College’s overall plans for the Centre. Saf Arfan, Vice Principal said, “The facilities officially opened at the event are just phase one, and we are really excited about the rest of the facilities and animals which will complete the work.
“The feedback from the launch event was fantastic and we thank everyone for coming along.”
The launch event marks the success of a great deal of hard work, with the new unit being several years in the planning and which has benefited from a multimillion pound investment.
Molly and Councillor Lisa Stone cutting the ribbon
Officially opening the facilities, Councillor Lisa Stone, Lead Member, Children & Young People's Services, Salford City Council said, “I am so proud that we have such a fantastic education provision for students in our city through Salford City College. And even more so, as ward Councillor for Eccles, I’m even prouder to have such superb resources on our doorstep.
“I love that the College will be working with local primary and secondary schools and think it's fantastic that we have such a community resource here in Eccles.
“I know how excited John (Spindler) was about the creation of such brilliant facilities for the students at the College. It’s a shame that he isn’t here today as I know how passionate and committed he was not only to these facilities but to the students across the College campuses.
“Having said that, I also know that the rest of the team at the College will do a fantastic job of continuing to push the College forwards and ensuring the very best for our students in Salford, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them.
“The facilities opened today are amazing with such a wide range of animals, from domestic to exotic, and what’s even more exciting is that I’m told this is only the first phase. So watch this space as the facilities continue to be developed and established.
“Our young people deserve the best in Salford and I think that through the College they have that, just look at the brilliant results, the success of the College and of course, the amazing students.”