Somerset charity Ferne Animal Sanctuary celebrates 80th anniversary by pledging to support Armed Forces Community


The charity was founded by the late Nina, Duchess of Hamilton & Brandon at the beginning of the Second World War. Her aim was to provide a temporary refuge for the animals belonging to service men and women who went abroad to fight.

Inevitably at the end of the war many owners failed to return to collect their pets and so the story of Ferne Animal Sanctuary began.

80 years later the Sanctuary still acts as a refuge for animals of all shapes and sizes from across the county and beyond. The charity pledged their support to the Armed Forces Community by signing the Armed Forces Covenant during celebrations for their 80th birthday.

Ferne has pledged to support to the Armed Forces Community in a number of ways. The company has developed training programmes aimed specifically at those currently serving in the armed forces, those who are looking to resettle and those who have already left the armed forces.

The company has also pledged to support the Armed Forces Community in wealth of other ways, including but not limited to;

  • Promoting the fact they are an armed forces friendly organisation through social media and printed marketing material.
  • Supporting the employment of veterans both young and old, and working with Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to establish a tailored employment pathway for Service Leavers, and offer volunteering and work experience opportunities.
  • Supporting the employment of Service spouses and partners.
  • Offering support to local cadet units, either in the local community or in local schools, and offering cadets volunteering opportunities.
  • Actively supporting Armed Forces Day through social media, their website and by attending local events.
  • Offering a discount to members of the Armed Forces Community.

The first organisation to sign the Armed Forces Covenant in the South West after its launch in October 2013 was Merlin Entertainments. Since then, a wide variety of organisations have signed the Covenant, pledging their support to the Armed Forces Community.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation, ensuring that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. This involves working with businesses, local authorities, charities and the public.

Businesses, from sole-trader to multinational, local authorities or charities, who wish to pledge their support can sign the Covenant and publicly declare their commitments.

Regional Employer Engagement Director, Jon Beake, who is responsible for the regional delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant in the South West, said; “It’s fantastic that over 400 organisations across the South West have pledged their support by adopting their own Armed Forces Covenants; it’s been a pleasure tailoring them to the individual businesses to make them relevant. 

“It is especially pleasing that Ferne Animal Sanctuary has signed the Covenant as their ethos fits and compliments it perfectly. Their Covenant includes supporting the employment of veterans, Service spouses, Cadets and Reservists. I look forward to working with them and other South West businesses in future.”

To find out more about how your organisation could benefit from pledging their support to the Armed Forces community contact the Regional Employer Engagement Team, on 01823 250110

To find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant and a list of all those who have signed, visit

Reserve Forces