Wirral & Chester RSPCA staff asked to volunteer for redundancy as charity’s financial struggles continue
THE RSPCA’s Animal Centre in Wallasey is making further cuts and asking staff to volunteer for redundancy as its financial struggles continue.
Last November the charity’s Wirral and Chester branch closed its clinic in Birkenhead – which was running at a loss of £20,000 a year – after trustees decided to focus resources on its centre in Cross Lane.
At the time the branch, which has been in existence for around 120 years, was said to have just a year’s worth of running costs in reserve.
Now trustees have decided their only option is to reduce staffing costs and an animal welfare assistance scheme.
From this week the scheme, which provides treatment for pets owned by people on low incomes, will be replaced by an emergency vet consultation.
Eighteen members of staff employed by the branch have entered into a 30-day consultation period.
Branch manager Peter Hattam said that without the cuts or increased donations, a “worst case scenario” could see the centre being forced to close altogether.
He said: “Whilst everything is being done to try to maintain the animal centre and to continue to offer re-homing opportunities for unwanted/ neglected cats, dogs and rabbits, trustees have found it necessary to reduce further the schemes of animal welfare assistance and are having to reduce staffing levels via voluntary redundancy as a first step.
“Rehoming of dogs in particular has fallen significantly over the past two years due in part, we believe, to the worsening economic climate and the need for individuals to tighten their belts.
“We have also seen a reduction in demand for larger breeds of dogs and particular breeds like staffies.”
“Although we are a charity, we are affected like any other business. Without further streamlining leading to a further reduction in our costs, and/or increase in financial support, then the current reduction in provision will unfortunately lead to the closure of the animal centre towards the end of next year.”
Mr Hattam said other options to reduce staff costs included pay cuts or reductions in hours.
With effect from November 1, the emergency vet consultation scheme will enable eligible owners to see a vet to establish the extent of an illness.
Owners will then have to decide on the future course of treatment that they can afford to pay.
Mr Hattam said trustees were “determined to continue to take the necessary actions” to keep the Cross Lane centre open.
He said: “It is with regret that they seek applications from staff to take voluntary redundancy and that they can no longer maintain their animal welfare treatment scheme.”Donations can be made online at www.rspcawirral.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call into the Animal Centre on Cross Lane. Source