Saturday, July 17, 2010

Regional Board Meeting

Really positive meeting with a lot of discussion on how branches can work together in region East. There are plans to set up a system for coordinating drivers over a wider area than individual branches to make it easier to move animals to centres where they may have a better chance of adoption. This could also be used within branches for transfers between kennels and vets and so on.

Basically the idea is that someone in the Regional HQ office will be given the job of holding a list of volunteers car drivers with details of how far they're prepared to travel and integrating this with the list of available paid drivers from the animal homes and Animal Collection Officers. Branches would still arrange their own routine animal movements within their own areas if possible, but if they were stuck or had a need to transport animals further afield they could contact the office and ask them to try to sort it out. This should minimise the use of AWOs and Inspectors (who shouldn't be taken away from casework and rescues except in dire emergency) and save money by speeding up rehoming and transferring animals from vets' surgeries as soon as they're fit enough to be moved so we're not paying expensive ward charges for animals who don't need it.

Useful information about the new HQ loan scheme for branches who need to fit out or refit shops: it looks as though it would not be a problem for us to open our proposed shop in Newmarket and put in a loan application to do an upgrade later in the year if the timetable worked out that way.

RSPCA governing council have restated their policy against sale of live animals in pet shops; aim is to encourage shops to realise that the real money is in sales of pet food/litter/equipment etc. and that they would not lose by working with rescue groups to promote rehoming rather than increasing the circulating pet population by purchasing animals from breeders for resale.

Discussion of the perennial problems of animals ending up at vets but branches not being told about it until the vet is half an hour away from knocking off for the weekend and wants them moved somewhere else right now. Most of the inspectorate staff will warn branches if they drop off animals, but when a member of the public is asked to take an injured stray to their closest vet for treatment no-one may think to contact the branch. As we're the ones responsible for continuing care after the initial first aid, this is a constant annoyance; to the vets as much as to us.

Cards, wrapping paper ... and singing candles

Many thanks to the generous donor of surplus stock and display units from a gift card shop which closed recently. The rotating units are ideal for our stock of paperbacks, and there are beautiful cards for all occasions at excellent prices.

Paperbacks for your summer reading

Candles that play Happy Birthday to You!

Fantastic cards at bargain prices

All at our 61 Burleigh Street charity shop now. Stock up and never be without a card for that  anniversary that just slipped your memory. 

Every pound you spend keeps our animal clinic running for another five minutes!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Frenetic week

Mare and foal looking for a cool spot under the bridge over the Cam
Took this picture of a mare and her foal looking for somewhere cool last week when I was cycling round all the Cambridge vets to ask them to display our volunteers meeting posters.

We got a reasonable amount of media interest in our appeal for more volunteers and donations to our charity shops, but I still feel there's a level of scepticism about whether we really need money. Answer: "Yes, we really, honestly do need money; we don't have some mystery source of funds and if we don't earn enough to pay our bills we will eventually close."
The volunteer meeting this evening did at least attract a few new people, some of whom are interested in helping in the shops. These have to be the highest fundraising priority at the moment because extra effort spent there immediately translates into more cash.

Holding the meeting at the shop meant we could use it directly as an opportunity to encourage everyone present to browse and buy, and we raised over fifty pounds. 

Next meeting will be Thursday 19th August 7.30-9.30pm.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

RIP Snowy

Sad email from Karen who adopted one of our oldies to let us know that Snowy had to be put to sleep last week because she developed untreatable thrombosis as a result of her long-standing heart condition. However, the positive side of this is that Snowy had several years of good life after being adopted by Karen under our Elderly Animals Rehoming Scheme (EARS), whereby we agree to pay part of the cost for age-related problems of older animals adopted from us.

EARS is just another reason why we must manage to increase our income, because without it we couldn't rehome nearly as many older animals, yet if we don't rehome them they're costing money sitting in kennel places that aren't suited to offering the kind of TLC oldies really need.