TWO animal-loving friends have set up a food bank for needy pets in West Oxfordshire.

Bonnie Cowdrey and Sarah Bright met through dog walking a couple of years ago, and are now doing their bit to make sure food bowls across the district don’t go empty.

There are now four donation points in Chipping Norton, at Pets Corner, Chipping Norton veterinary hospital, Gill & Co hardware shop, and the Co-op in Albion Street.

Mrs Cowdrey has been a dog walker for 17 years and saw work thin out during lockdown, prompting her to help out people’s pets.

See also: Latest court results for Oxfordshire

She said: “Myself and Sarah are both dog walkers and haven’t got much work on at the moment with everyone at home.

“At the beginning of lockdown, Sarah was volunteering for the food bank in Chipping Norton.

“I was thinking about what I should be doing, and I knew there’d be pets that would need help.

“If people can’t afford to feed their families, then they’re not going to be able to feed their pets.

“We decided to start a pet food bank with four places in the town and put leaflets out that we were up and running.

Oxford Mail:

“As more people get to know about it, we’re seeing more demand, and our houses have been taken over with food all over the place.

“We’re also out delivering too, to people who are shielding or maybe out of work.

“We can take off the stress of how to feed pets if there’s people struggling to pay bills.

“I assumed this would be a short-term thing, for a few weeks but I quickly realised it wouldn’t be.

“I think over time, we will need more help with delivery, storage and pick-ups but Chipping Norton has a really good community so there will be plenty of willing volunteers.

“The places that have supported us have also been really good.”

Read more: Please help find Maurice’s mobility scooter!

One of those points is Pets Corner in London Road.

Matt Jeffrey, assistant manager at the store, said it was good to help the local community.

He added: “We started helping from the get-go, as a donation point and for returned items too.

“We’ve got posters up and we’ve been posting on social media.

“We’ve had cages be donated, as well as cat litter and grooming items - one collection even weighed 900 pounds.”

Oxford Mail:

Miss Bright said: “Because I was doing deliveries with the Chippy larder, I had been speaking to some of the elderly, who were saying they’d rather give their last tin of tuna to their cat so we knew there’d be a demand for this.

“The aim is to prevent more animals being handed in to rescue centres and homes, and to keep people feeding their animals.

“People can email us and we then find out what type of pet they have and the age, and we go out to deliver, which is between six and 10 times a week.

“We’re hoping that this will grow in other parts of the country too as we know there is a demand for it.”

To contact the pet food bank, please email: