“Why are you not funded by the National RSPCA?”
A question we are often asked … In response we need to give a little background on the RSPCA structure and how we, as a Branch, fit into that …
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) was founded in 1824, and is the world’s oldest and largest animal welfare charity.
The primary aim of the National Society is the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming or releasing of animals across England and Wales. The National Society employ the Inspectors and Animal Rescue Officers who are often seen out and about helping with animal welfare and collecting sick or injured animals. They also investigate animal cruelty or neglect, and compile evidence for legal action and prosecutions under the Animal Welfare Act.
The National Society often run advertising campaigns on TV and in the press and media, but all money donated to these appeals goes to the National funds to help support the Inspectors and their animal welfare work. Whilst we agree that this is a very worthwhile cause, this money does not filter down to the Branches … so any money donated to the national appeals will not help the Cornwall Branch.
So, “What is a Branch”?
There are around 150 RSPCA Branches within England and Wales. All Branches are independently registered separate charities, and each is run by a board of local volunteer Trustees.
As a charity, every Branch must ensure that its aims and objectives are carried out for the public benefit. The National RSPCA provide Branches with a small proportion of funds each year, but being an independent charity means the Cornwall Branch must raise around 90% of our annual finances ourselves. All money raised in Cornwall stays in the County to directly support animals in need here.
Unlike some Branches, we are also fortunate to have our own Animal Rehoming Centre, which works under the licencing rules of the National RSPCA. As well as taking animals from the public, we also provide accommodation for animals during cruelty investigations in Cornwall, which may take a long time to reach their conclusion.
Our Animal Centre rehomes 100’s of unwanted and neglected animals every year. The Branch also supports the local community by offering subsidised neutering and microchipping for owners on benefits, support with vet bills and other welfare services locally. We have 2 Branch Animal Welfare Officers who serve the local community, providing support, information and assistance with animal welfare enquiries.
Our Animal Welfare Education scheme also provides children and young people with an insight into animal care and supports schools and colleges with training opportunities. The Cornwall Branch therefore needs to raise around £850,000 annually to run and maintain the Animal Centre and our other welfare services in the County. This relies heavily on local support, fundraising events, sponsorship, legacies and income from our charity shops. We also run our own rescue animal lottery, from which 100% of the profits come direct to us, along with the fees from our dog exercise field hire.
Despite having to raise our own funding, being a Branch gives us the advantage of a certain amount of independence, so we can channel our money to the most appropriate needs in Cornwall, and tailor our services to best support resident pet owners and their animals. Being on the ground in the County gives us local knowledge and an insight into how best to support our community.