Media Release 22nd April 2020

Cheltenham Animal Shelter hit by income loss during coronavirus crisis

Animals lovers at Cheltenham Animal Shelter are appealing for public support during the current coronavirus crisis as the charity reports income losses of more than £1,000 per day.

The charity on Gardners Lane, which looks after more than 600 abandoned and surrendered dogs, cats and small animals every year, has had to cancel its major public fundraising activities including a Spring dog walk, Easter holiday animal days for children, hosting a pet show at the Tewkesbury Big Weekend in May and the large scale community open day in July.

Furthermore, the shelter is suffering from the closure of its grooming and boarding business and charity shop of which provide essential income to enable the shelter to stay open.

With the lockdown extended for at least three weeks, the charity is concerned about the current impact of the loss of income and the potential costs associated with an influx of new arrivals once lockdown conditions are lifted.

General Manager, Peter Newcombe said: “We have been doing everything we can to date to ensure that the animals in our care continue to receive the best possible care and lots of love and attention. The core animal care team are still working onsite as keyworkers, supported by a network of essential staff working from home to ensure that the administration and management of the charity day-by-day continues.

“But to be completely honest, it’s getting harder week-by-week as the amount of income we are losing starts to add up to tens of thousands of pounds and we have to cancel more events and fundraising activities.

“Our core rehoming business is on hold during the pandemic, as we cannot have members of the public on our site to view or meet the animals, and while the care team are doing an excellent job, we are very conscious that its not ideal to have pets living in kennels and pens waiting for homes indefinitely.

“Fostering animals is not an option while the site is locked down and we are unable to host meet-and-greets or carry out home checks. We also know that is unsettling and stressful for the animals who can take weeks to settle in a new environment, only to be returned at the end of the foster period.

“We have had to halt the admission of new animals except for emergency cases, such as dogs that may be brought to us by the police. Once we are able to reopen, the crisis isn’t over as we anticipate that we may see many more animals up for rehoming, as people may struggle to look after their pets due to a change in financial circumstances or families that are affected by the stress of the lockdown period.

“We have had a fantastic initial response from the general public on social media, who have to date donated more than £9,000 to help us to continue to look after the animals currently in our care, but we need to ask for more at this unprecedented and unpredictable time.”

The charity has launched an Urgent Care Appeal and is appealing for help from the public and local businesses.

“Sadly, the latest measures announced by the government to support frontline charities with £750 million during the coronavirus pandemic is unlikely to benefit animal charities,” says Cheltenham Animal Shelter’s Head of Fundraising, Alison Jarvis.

“While our income has drastically reduced, the length of stay for every animal in our care has increased by a minimum of six weeks costing us more in food, care and medical bills.

“We are extremely grateful for the phenomenal support and generosity we receive from our local community and would like to once again ask our kind supporters to consider a donation, however small, to help get us through the coming weeks and months ahead.”

Donations can be made via the charity’s website by visiting www.gawa.org.uk/make-a-donation or by post to Urgent Care Appeal, Fundraising Department, Cheltenham Animal Shelter, Gardners Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 9JW.

Individuals or businesses who would like to discuss raising money for the charity are invited to get in touch by emailing fundraising@gawa.org.uk

The Gloucestershire Animal Welfare Association and Cheltenham Animal Shelter has been helping animals since 1926. The charity rescues and rehomes around 600 unwanted, surrendered and abandoned cats, dogs and small animals from across Gloucestershire every year, at a cost of more than £650,000. Receiving no government funding, the Shelter relies on donations from the public and the generosity of local businesses and grant-making trusts. For more information about Cheltenham Animal Shelter, visit www.gawa.org.uk

by Fundraising