Sheffield Star : Animal rescue centre fearing for future

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New research shows UK animal rescue centres have lost up to half their income during the coronavirus pandemic and many face imminent closure – now one South Yorkshire centre is urgently appealing for support.

The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes surveyed its 150 members and found face huge staffing and funding pressures, with nearly half admitting they may not survive the crisis.

South Yorkshire’s Rain Rescue is among those most severely affected. 

Shelley Richmond, chair of trustees at the centre, on Moat Lane, Wickersley, said she fears the worst for the vulnerable cats and dogs Rain Rescue is currently caring for.

She said: ‘We are doing everything we can to tackle the situation we are all facing with coronavirus.

“However, the reality is, as a small charity, this is now threatening our survival.

“We have already furloughed five staff members to reduce costs, but our fundraising activities have all but stopped.

“Rain Rescue is set to celebrate its 18th birthday in July. We’ll do everything in our power to make sure we’re here to celebrate that milestone, but right now we honestly don’t know if we’ll make it to 19.”

The ADCH survey revealed coronavirus posed a huge threat to the sustainability of the dog and cat rescue sector, potentially creating an ‘animal welfare time bomb’.

It said 95 per cent of respondents had seen an impact on their work or ability to operate, while 48 per cent of members do not have funds to continue to operate for more than three months and 18 per cent said they face imminent closure due to the impact on fundraising.

David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs and an ADCH trustee, said: “Although most of the country is on lockdown, animals still need rescuing, feeding, walking, taking care of – and all of that is extremely expensive.

“This has left many, smaller charities at risk of imminent closure with nearly half saying they may not have funds to survive the lockdown.

Shelley said: “We know this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, but without the help of Rain Rescue’s supporters, we simply won’t be able to carry on.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

To support Rain Rescue, see rainrescue.co.uk/donate