Martlesham: RSPCA rescue centre under threat over fears money will run out in 80 days
SUFFOLK’S only RSPCA rescue centre is facing a funds crisis that may threaten its existence, it emerged last night.
The centre, at Martlesham, has rehomed thousands of sick, mistreated and injured animals over the past 40 years, but the charity’s Suffolk East and Ipswich Branch, which runs the centre, is battling a chronic funding shortfall and cutbacks are already having to be made.
It costs the branch �1,000 a day to run the centre and its animal clinic in Ipswich – but its operations only bring in half that amount.
The charity relies heavily on donations and legacies from the public to pay for its services.
But committee members say that, on current levels of income, the branch’s money will run out in just 80 days.
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The centre is licensed and regulated by the RSPCA, but only receives minimal financial support from the national body and is almost entirely self-funding.
In 2008-9, the charity had a shortfall of �15,000 – but that funding gap widened to �60,000 in 2009-10.
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Jean Short, honorary chairman of the branch, said: “We are running out of money and we cannot carry on like this. There is a constant threat against the future of the centre and our clinic. If we go, it is the animals that will suffer.”
The centre, which was established with money from a legacy in 1970, generally always has more than 100 animals on site waiting for new owners.
The majority are cats and dogs, but there are also rabbits, ferrets, parrots and guinea pigs.
It is open to the public six days a week, but RSPCA inspectors can bring in injured or sick animals at any time.
The branch also runs a clinic in St George’s Street, in Ipswich – which treats nearly 2,000 animals a year – and has two charity shops in Ipswich and Felixstowe.
It employs 14 full-time staff covering the animal centre and two charity shops, and has more than 250 volunteers. The centre is managed by Kieron Adams and Rebecca Fox, who both have to live on site.
Mrs Short said the centre would never turn away a sick animal, but the demand for services was putting huge pressure on the branch’s budget.
The number of sessions offered at the clinic, for which the branch has to employ a vet, has already been cut back from three a week to two.
“We have had puppies abandoned in boxes on the driveway at Martlesham, dogs tied to the gates and cat baskets left outside,” she said.
“We are seen by people as the fourth emergency service, so what will happen if we are not here?
“Some of the animals are in a terrible condition when we first see them. We do our best to get them back to health and find new homes for them.
“We offer a unique service. We are the only animal charity with inspectors, so where do all the animals go that are being mistreated and need a place of safety?”
She said she would love to increase participation in the branch’s Safe Havens scheme, where donors give a certain amount of money each month. It currently brings in �8,000 a year. The branch would also welcome corporate sponsorship.
THE ANIMAL CENTRE
In 2010, the centre took in 110 dogs, 93 of which were rehomed. The others are waiting for new homes.
It also saw 289 cats (253 of which were rehomed) and 265 other animals (220 of which were rehomed)
The centre can be contacted on 01473 623280 or the branch’s website address is www.ipswich-rspca.org.uk
HOW YOU CAN HELP
For more information on ways to donate or for sponsorship enquiries, contact Kate Grimwood, branch administrator, on 01449 614057 or 07745 771129 or e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org