Rebuilding a Bright Future for Animals in Need

Chesterfield Animal: Centre Rebuild Appeal.

Issue no. 56 – August 2014.

Words by Penelope Morgan.

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Chesterfield and North Derbyshire RSPCA has just launched a fundraising campaign to raise an initial target of £250,000 by the end of 2016. The money will be used to modernise and update the accommodation for the animals in their care.

I visited the Chesterfield RSPCA animal shelter on a rainy July afternoon to see for myself what this appeal is all about and why the rebuild and refurbishment is so important. I can tell you first hand that the roof of the rabbit and guinea pig enclosure no longer keeps out the rain.   The problem for the Centre is summed up by Gary Taylor, animal care manager: “Our animal centre dates back to the 1960s and over time our buildings have become very tired and run down. We have done our best to make do and mend whilst keeping the care of the animals a priority – but it is now clear that we are facing major costs just to keep a roof over the animals’ heads.”

Those of you who volunteer and fundraise for our local RSPCA branch will know that it costs £1000 a day to keep the Animal Centre open. This enables staff to care for animals who have been badly neglected and mistreated as well as to rehome more than 800 animals a year (including 328 dogs and 246 cats).

Although the RSPCA is a national organisation, each branch is a separate charity, responsible for its own fundraising and management. The Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Branch cares for animals from Dronfield to Clay Cross and Castleton to Shirebrook.

Sue Hallam, fundraising manager, responsible for ensuring money comes in to keep the Animal Centre going said “this is an exciting opportunity which really needs the support of the local community. We would love people to organise fundraising events, nominate us for your sponsored events, donate directly, make us the charity of the year for your business or school and spread the word about our appeal”.

Sue went on to say “this is a marathon not a sprint but we are hoping to raise enough money to start the first phase of the project in the autumn”.

Staff and volunteers at the Animal Centre work very hard to make sure animals are comfortable and well cared for. They know that the Centre is an important facility for the Chesterfield and North Derbyshire community. As Rachel Gray, the Branch Manager said: “the RSPCA is as much about people as it is about animals.   We re-home the pets that people are no longer able to care for and we match people with animals that will become much loved members of their family”.

For a local charity with high overheads, this is a very ambitious fundraising project. Supporters are already getting involved: Grassmoor Glass is making a donation to the appeal for each customer order made over the next few months, The Anchor Pub on Factory Street had a collection for the appeal at their recent music festival and supporters are raising sponsorship to run the Chesterfield half marathon. You can also look out for the fundraising weekend being organized by Dobbies Garden Centre.

There are ways for everyone to be part of this appeal. If you want to find out more go to www.chesterfieldanimalcentrerebuild.org.uk where there is information on how to donate online or by text. You can also download a pack full of fundraising tips and ideas.

The next major event in the RSPCA calendar is the Fun Dog Show on 9th August (11am till 4 pm) at Chesterfield Panther’s Rugby Club, Dunston Road.