Sheffield RSPCA closes charity shop after branch loses £5,000 in a month over lockdown

Sheffield RSPCA, which has been struggling to keep afloat due to the ongoing pandemic, has launched a fundraising appeal amid talks that it was on a brink of collapse.

The Attercliffe-based branch said the main sources of income which are used to help finance the branch have been unable to operate, leading to severe financial pressures.

In a statement released on Tuesday (March 9), the branch said a significant part of the funding which is used to run the centre comes from their charity shops has resulted in about £5000 of lost income in a month.

Regular fundraising events like car boot sales have also been unable to take place, forcing them to reduce staffing levels in order to cut cost.

Sheffield RSPCA is appealing for help to raise funds for the branch which cares for and re-homes animals from its base in Stadium Way in Attercliffe as it relies on public donations to finance the running of the centre.

This has also resulted in the shutting down of one of their charity shops - Attercliffe Supercentre - as it was not financially viable during the pandemic.

Dianna Radford, chief executive of the Sheffield RSPCA Animal Centre, said: “Like many charities, coronavirus has had a devastating effect on our finances.

“The key source of funding for the centre is our RSPCA charity shops and the four which raised funds for the branch in Sheffield have been reduced to three as the Attercliffe store was not financially viable and closed."

Peggy is a 14-week-old Akita puppy who came to the centre after she was found with a severely injured leg following a road traffic accident which killed her mother in the Manor Top area. The owner of both dogs was traced but he signed Peggy over into the care of the animal welfare charity as he said he could not afford the vet bills to treat her. Poor Peggy had emergency treatment and had to have her leg amputated to save her life. To help her recuperate from her ordeal a foster home was needed so Diana has taken her on for now to give her the support and love she needs to be able to fully recover and adapt to life with three-legs.

She said the Sheffield centre was able to apply for funding from an emergency RSPCA fund which they are using to supplement their monthly loss of income.

But going forward, they will need to become self-sufficient to continue their work in rehoming and rehabilitating animals.

The branch has in total 80 kennels and 69 cat centres and expects to be busier than ever when lockdown restrictions ease.

Animal charities are bracing themselves for a potential increase in the number of dogs going into their care as some of those who bought dogs during lockdown have not planned for how they will care for their pet when they

Aida is a heavily pregnant cat who was found as a stray wandering around the area near the Attercliffe branch base. She is now enjoying some warmth and comfort as she prepares to become a mum to at least two kittens according to her scan. Staff will care for the mum and kittens until they are ready to find their forever home.

return to work and the animal charities will be left to pick up the pieces.

An influx of unwanted kittens also usually come into the care of animal charities between the months of May and September, known as ‘kitten season’ but with lockdown rules making access to neutering more difficult the plight

of unwanted kittens is expected to worsen.

Lucy is an 18-month-old cat who was found having given birth to four kittens on a chair in the cellar of a house which is now used as a dental surgery in Sheffield. Her kittens are now four weeks old and have been named after Captain Tom’s family. Lucy is named after his wife and one of the kittens is named after the man himself, his brother is named Colin and the sisters are called Pamela and Maxine. Once they are old enough they will be rehomed through the branch.

Diana said: “We estimate the annual cost for animal related treatment and care alone to be £114,000 if the centre is running at mid-capacity. This includes such things as vet treatments, microchips, worming and flea treatment,

equipment for the animals, food, hygiene and behaviourist. But this does not include the running costs of the centre such as lighting and heating or staff wages.

“There are also maintenance costs to consider and currently we are faced with a £10,000 repair bill for underfloor heating in the cattery and of the three boilers we have in the building one needs replacing and the other two are limping along.

“We will continue to do all we can to protect our ability to help animals across Sheffield and the surrounding area and to prevent cruelty to those without a voice, who now, more than ever, need our help."

To help support the work of the RSPCA Sheffield branch you can make a donation on this link.

If you can help in any other way please email the branch at [email protected]

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.