AN ANIMAL rescue charity has submitted proposals to build brand new kennels as part of a £250,000 plan to secure it for the future.

Stray Aid, in Coxhoe, launched its campaign to buy the land it operates it on and replace its ageing kennels last year, as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations.

So far the charity, which provides shelter for stray dogs, has raised just short of £100,000 and has managed to buy its premises in Cornforth Lane.

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It has now submitted plans to Durham County Council for brand new kennels to provide new accommodation for the 15,000 dogs it helps each year.

Lee Henderson, the charity’s community engagement officer, said: “We need to keep going with the fundraising to reach our goal, even if it takes a couple of years.

“At the moment we want to get planning permission in place so we can move forward when the funding is there.

“What I’ve seen of the plans so far are really good - it gives us a lot of hope for the future. Everything will be up to date and it will have underfloor heating. It makes it a better environment for the dogs, as well as for the volunteers and staff.”

The charity, which rehomes dogs across County Durham, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, has around 50 volunteers who as well as helping walk and look after the dogs, also help out at fundraisers and awareness-raising events across the region.

Founder and vet Sue Bielby, who started Stray Aid with her husband, John, said: “We’ve managed to get a mortgage so it’s effectively ours.

“We own the site now, which is brilliant, and we’ve put in plans for a very modern building so it will be easier to keep the dogs warm. It’s really important for us.”

The proposals submitted to the council include plans to demolish the existing barn, and build a single storey building with 30 kennels and a two-storey barn for storage and to replace existing night drop-off kennels.

To find out more about the charity or the fundraising appeal visit https://www.strayaid.org.uk.