Sunday, 7 April 2013

World Where We Live

Is there anything you do obsessively, near religiously? I don't mean any kind of OCD thing, let's face it, most of us have such quirks. I mean like my Doctor Who watching. I can't watch it with anyone else or with any distractions. It has to be me, the TV and Matt Smith or else it's ruined. To be honest, it's largely because I have to concentrate so much to get what's going on but I do love nothing more than entirely immersing myself in the drama and experiencing it vividly.

That pretty much describes how so many of our staff and volunteers feel about their involvement at the RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch. We aren't merely actors going about our daily performance, we live and breathe, grieve and celebrate the corner of the animal welfare world we inhabit. It means that when bad times happen we all feel it, we all reel from it and we all help each other to deal with it. That's something I value more than anything else about my work and life: the support, friendship and camaraderie we share. It's like we are all in it together - buying into the good and the bad times, united in our love of what we do.

What's really nice is that we have an extension to our team now, with the staff at the RSPCA Adoption Centre at Stockport Pets At Home. We've all become firm friends and we visit weekly to help with events and enjoy an escape from the office! They live the ups and downs just as much as us and are often just a text or a phone call away to get us through the day.

This week has been a blessing in so many ways, as we've seen first hand how much love and support there is out there for the work that we do. One supporter sent a £20 donation and told me how much she had missed the blog over the last few weeks. Another supporter decided to spend her weekly food budget on cat food for us. The Ocado delivery guy must've have been very confused delivering 330 sachets of cat food to our office! Another supporter raised £65 by raffling an Easter Egg he'd won. It's things like this that make you feel so lucky.

But to be honest, the outlook is far more bleak than we first thought. The week ahead involves some difficult meetings to look at ways to keep the branch running beyond 2013. Things really are that bad, I can't deny they aren't. What I can say is we will face this head on and do all we can to improve matters. For now, we'll keep hoping for homes for our animals, that people get involved with our events and that donations to our shops keep coming in. I've always been an optimist but even my 'default' button feels like it isn't functioning properly.

Perhaps my inspiration for this week comes from our Chair, Hannah Brookfield. We've barely seen of late because she has been in training. She has taken on the challenge to run two half marathons and one full marathon in aid of the branch. Before last year Hannah had never run in her life but she chose the Manchester North Run as he first goal (again to raise money for us) and since then she hasn't looked back.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach living up to its name!

Today she ran the second of the two half marathons in Blackpool, and smashed her personal best in the process. She's so far raised nearly £200! The worst is yet to come, and she'll be the first to admit she's having sleepless nights over the rapidly looming Manchester Marathon.

In training Hannah has accomplished as much as 18 miles in one go, but the marathon is so much more scary. With just 21 days to go we are all counting down with her but suspect we won't be seeing much of her as she pounds the streets nightly after work to make sure she is ready for the challenge of a life time.

It's people like Hannah that make you believe you can achieve anything if you just put your mind to it. I'll keep reminding myself of this thought over the next coming days.....