Custom dictates that each year we produce a report on the year-that-was for an annual audit to the Charity Commission. It always reveals such fascinating reminders of the achievements that we made that it deserves a greater audience than just a handful of strangers. This year’s review will likely prove no different as I put digit to keyboard to produce my 6th Annual Report for the branch.
December 2012 marked my 4th year in post as Branch Manager, a year that has been typified by one thing – a relentless onslaught of work. There has been no seasonal lulls, no chance to take a breather, it has simply been full throttle all year round and we are all pretty weary as a result.
|Stanley pup was abandoned in a box in freezing temperatures.|
Christmas did not bring the much longed for ‘down time’; instead it brought more admissions than ever as puppies and kittens were rescued by the inspectorate.
|12 week old Noel was found Xmas Eve dumped in an industrial bin.|
Our records of achievements illustrate just how and why we have been so busy in 2012:
For the first time in an Annual Report I am sharing some statistics that typically attract a swell of critics but the fact is the national RSPCA rescues from the most pitiful and disturbing quarters and as a result we do not choose who we take in and it is this aspect that makes us so unique. What often comes with this is a complexity of needs to meet that are both physical and mental, such as Blue.
Blue came into our care in October 2012 after recovering from repeated violent assaults by his owner, including a vicious assault to his skull with a hammer. Blue bears the scars both mentally and physically of his ordeal but we have worked hard to rehabilitate him and now we await the offer of a home for him. It’s a long time coming but we will keep holding on for as long as he can cope with kennel life.
Euthanasia is the most distressing part of the work our branch does but it is not done because an animal hasn’t found a home, but because their welfare is compromised. This could be physical or mental suffering, which we believe we are duty bound to alleviate.
In my opinion the RSPCA is an organisation to whom the whole of society is indebted to, for without them we would have nothing comparable. The RSPCA does something unique, that no other charity or organisation in this country does: it recues and seeks to rehabilitate the most damaged animals in society. The RSPCA seeks justice on behalf of these voiceless victims of cruelty and wins 98% the cases it takes to court.
Let’s stop for a moment and consider this latter fact. We live in a country governed by statutory laws designed to protect us all and to ensure civil obedience. Upholding the law is not the responsibility of a charity, yet no one else has the funds or expertise to do this. Like us, or hate us, there would be few, if any, statutory animal welfare laws or justice for abused animals if it weren’t for the RSPCA – a non-government funded charity.
Our primary role as a branch, the RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch (an independent charity in itself), is to assist the local inspectorate by taking in, caring for and, wherever possible, rehoming these rescued animals. Our rehoming stats for 2012 have bucked the trend nationwide – most have seen a decline or remained the same, but as you can see we have seen a dramatic rise in adoptions.
The secret of our success? Well, no doubt our strong online presences, our excellent reputation for animal welfare and intimate knowledge of our animals all contribute, but I’m a firm believer in people power. We are only as strong as we are because of the people who stand behind us, supporting, willing us to carry on. It is to our team of 10 staff, 100+ volunteers and countless supporters that I say we owe our success to, as without them we are nothing.
The other aspect of our work is promoting animal welfare in the community. 2012 saw us move our resources toward neutering and microchipping as opposed to free pet health clinics, because reducing the stray and unwanted animal population seems ever more pressing.
Income generation has obviously been of high priority in order to fund these additional activities. Our 3rd shop, in Didsbury, opened in July 2011 to help with these costs but it has not performed quite as pleasingly as we’d hoped for due to an increase in competition in the area. Nonetheless the shop has achieved a profit of £8k in its first full year of trading, but we know it can do more and hope that in 2013 it will raise in excess of £10k for the animals.
In November 2012 we have embarked on our biggest ambitious income generation project to date by signing a lease on a new shop in city centre Manchester. It is due to open mid-January and bucks the trend of traditional style charity shops and is uniquely designed in a boutique, chic style. We think acquisition of stock is going to be our biggest challenge here but we are really hopeful that there is plenty of money to be made.
Our other two shops, in Chorlton and Urmston, continue to serve us and the community proudly and have become a reliable source of income for our work thanks to the dedication of the staff teams and volunteers. Between them they raised a profit in excess of £55k in 2012, which makes a massive contribution toward the £300k+ it costs each year to fund our work.
Looking ahead to 2013 and there’s one major landmark on the horizon. In December our branch will be 50th years old. We have a number of very special events planned to mark our half century including a Vintage Garden Party on Saturday 18th May, Imperial War Museum Zipwire Challenge on Saturday 13th October and a Purrfect Birthday Party evening fundraiser on Saturday 23rd November. More details will be announced on our website shortly. We always need donations for our raffles and auctions so please let us know if you can help.
If you would like to help our work we are currently appealing for:
Volunteers for our Urmston, Didsbury and Northern Quarter shops.
Cat and kitten foster carers.
Cat home visitors for Sth Mcr area, next course 23rd Feb.
Stock donations for our shops. We can help you run a collection day at work so you can make a really big difference!
firstname.lastname@example.orgTo express your interest in any of the above please email