If I played my cards right it looks as if I could get our New Year clinic appeal into the national press. Sadly I don't think keeping RSPCA Preston's animal centre open is the Telegraph's main interest in this, so it might be useful to give a bit of background on the financial relationships between the central RSPCA and its branches.
This table from the 2011 accounts shows the funds spent on support of the 170 branches (amounts are thousands of pounds, meaning that the total support was £8,840,000 in 2011).
This means that (on average) the central RSPCA spends £42,000 on support of any individual branch (sales to branches can be ignored because there will be a corresponding incoming payment from branches). To put it in context: £42,00 is a bit less than half of our branch's annual spend on welfare work.
In practice some branches will get more funding than others. There's a regular annual grant of around £12,000 per branch which all branches get and which can be used in whatever way the local committee thinks best. Discretionary grants are agreed by Council and allocated to specific branch welfare or development projects.
In addition, and probably more controversially, the central RSPCA provides support "in kind" by employing development officers to advise branches and running some administrative functions centrally (for example I don't have to submit our VAT returns directly to HMRC, I simply send quarterly figures to Horsham and the accounts department there deal with it). This is probably the area that causes the most friction because we may sometimes feel we'd rather have cash up front than the help.
In practice I don't think many people could take on a branch absolutely from scratch and run it without any source of advice, simply because running a modern charity is just too complex. Some of the help is a bit like presents of odd socks for Christmas, but most of it is actually useful.
Where a local branch is unable to form a committee of volunteers to manage it, control reverts to the central RSPCA. The table below shows details of the branches which were in Council (central) trusteeship in 2011 and you'll see that they tend to be given a rather larger amount of financial support
to keep them going.