Sunday, 25 July 2010

Pink Floyd

There have been quite a few reasons to be cheerful this week, yet few have actually lifted my spirits above the 'water line'. I've struggled to understand what has been causing my hovering malaise and I think I've worked it out.

The pressures of expenditure and income generation have been uppermost in my mind. We've had to shut the Chrlton shop for a couple of weeks for renovations and that has meant a loss of around £3k-£3.5k in income. We've also had to use a private vet for our cat and dog neutering, which invariably increases costs by around £60-£80 per dog and £20-£30 per cat, so you can see the costs start stacking up.

I then learnt about the pending closure of an animal sanctuary most of us (staff and trustees) have worked for at some point in our careers. Just like every other small charity the money just isn't coming in and unless they can raise a substantial sum of money they face closure - so it just makes me think, 'there, by the grace of god, go I' (or whatever that saying is supposed to be, but you get my drift anyhow).

This year we've not had any substantial legacies come in, and as macabre as this conversation may be, the fact is most charities rely on them to keep going. The last 3 years have seen us receive some very generous bequests but this year not so. What also sent my worries into sharp relief was my experience yesterday of collecting money in Salisbury's.

Salisbury's' shoppers are always generous and supportive, and last year we raised £234from standing in the foyer on a Saturday with a collection tin and display. I did the same yesterday, with my face painted as a cat and wearing cat ears, and whilst I raised a lot of smiles and plenty of 'sympathy votes' it was really evident that people are more hard up this year. Even the store was quiet at times for a Saturday, and whilst everyone who gave was generous (except for the 3 famous actors that went in and out and ignored me) we raised quite a lot less. I think it is very telling that people just don't have the money or are worried about the uncertainty of their futures.

My friend, who is a working single parent, told me how much she is dreading the VAT increase come January next year. So, I guess what I'm saying is, there is a huge shift in priorities for people and understandably so. I think, if I am honest, for the first time I am genuinely worried about the branch's future and the strain of the worry is basically taking its toll. I feel burdened, and that means I feel responsible, but I can't see any obvious way out other than dramatically cutting expenditure in ways I just don't want to think about, so let's not, and I'll tell you about all the good things that have happened......

1. Trevor the kitten - was found by a member of the public following an RTA. He had a broken leg that required an external pin thingy fitting at a very costly price of £500. But a lifeline was thrown to the branch, and one of the vet nurses at Ashleigh offered to take him on and pay for the op. I cannot tell you how great my relief and gratitude was. Incidentally, Trevor is doing well and is a little love!

2. Rehomings and Reserves - this weekend sees the departure of cats: Tiddles, Andy and our gorgeous boy Floyd (pictured). Floyd had been with us for months, recovering from illness and injury (he was found stray with what looked to be chemical burns to his body). Because Floyd was with us for so long he became a favourite amongst us all and his quirk of greeting you with a belly for a tickle just endeared him to us even more!

We also see the first of our baby bunnies leaving us this week and 3 bunny reserves for Ethel, Hetty and Agatha. This weekend we have also had a reserve on our beautiful dog Sasha, which is a relief because we've started to see she is showing signs of slowing down (she is 8 years old) and we so desperately want to see her live her life out in a happy home. So, please keep everything crossed it is the right home for her.

This week we also saw 5 kittens go to their new homes: Bert & Ernie. Poppy & Rosie and Billy. So all in all a very good week. But before you ask - the people at our fair last week who expressed a firm interest in Red and Nipper sadly never got in touch.

3. Volunteers - I am very privileged to work alongside very many amazing volunteers, and I have recently welcomed a new member to our team, Scott, who is walking the dogs on a Monday and helping me out in the office on a Wednesday. He has really made a big difference to my workload and I am ever so grateful to him and only wish we could afford to pay him to do it as a part-time job.

4. Fundraising - when the chips are down my brain kicks in and I'm working on a new event for November (with Scott's help). I don't want to give it away just yet but I'm in need of creative people and budding magicians, dancers of the interesting kind eg belly dancing, bollywood type dancing, even exotic dancing and people with quirky acts or talents they'd like to share. As yet I'm not sure where to start with scouting for this kind of talent but if you can help or you love painting and papier mache making please get in touch, I need you!

The week ahead sees us holding a free pet health clinic in Longsight and our quarterly newsletter going out (assuming I get it done today whilst watching soap omnibuses). Oh, and I already have 5 cats and 1 dog waiting to come just another typical week ahead of us but would you expect anything less?!