But it costs more than £600,000 a year to run the Eartham center – even though it has a tiny staff of less than ten people and an extensive network of unpaid volunteers.
Here’s how you can help the RSPCA West Branch in Sussex:
Become a Friend – you will receive a quarterly e-newsletter, an invitation to an annual Friends Open House, and admission to four conferences a year at the center. You can become a friend for a minimum donation of £2.50 per month or £30 per year. https://www.rspcasussexwest.org.uk/become-a-friend
Become an Ambassador – help raise awareness of the work by attending events and encourage others to get involved.
The Trustees are extremely proud that their vision to create a flagship animal care center to provide the highest standards of welfare and accommodation, based on the latest animal science for local cats and dogs, is now a reality.
On Saturday July 2, the new center was officially opened by President Bruce Fogle – with volunteers, supporters, staff, trustees and community representatives all agreeing that it was a a magnificent accomplishment.
A few years ago, the future of the 50-year-old center looked bleak.
Nick Cockram, chairman, told guests: “About four years ago Mount Noddy, as this place was known, was nearly finished. There was no more money, it was falling apart and we were seriously considering closing it. But it didn’t happen because of extraordinary acts of kindness, expertise and commitment on the part of people.
“The RSPCA is probably the only charity that will care for animals in the most extreme circumstances – the most abused, the most neglected and those who suffer the most. Of course, we are also a shelter. And that it is our inspectors who set the RSPCA apart from other animal charities.
“I’ll go through a list of thanks, but I’ll start with the one that stood out – from a lady called Miss Melvin, who sadly passed away. She left us a huge legacy which enabled us to plan her rebuilding in 2018 .”
This multi-million pound legacy combined with the enormous courage of the administrators and everyone involved saw the project begin in earnest during lockdown.
At the official opening of the new centre, Mr Fogle said: ‘The greatest pleasure for me is to see how a community like this in West Sussex can come together, almost invariably everyone volunteering, to create a space like this. This was produced by people who volunteer to walk the dogs here, it’s created by people who volunteer to look at spreadsheets and figure out how we can cover the cost. It’s so rewarding.
“There is no government animal welfare funding for organizations like this. These people who leave a legacy at the RSPCA continue the world’s oldest animal welfare organization. But we here in West Sussex we don’t receive any of that money, we are totally dependent on what we can raise ourselves to provide the facilities.
“What impresses me about what’s going on here is that you have a very small staff – less than ten people. And the amount of work they do is absolutely brilliant. I’m so impressed with what Su as a manager here When you look at the detail of all the facilities here – we have a dog lounge for the dogs we have steps for the cats to jump into a box – everything is so well thought out for a facility of well-being.
“Just retraining a dog or cat – rescuing it, rehabilitating it and rehoming it – sounds easy, but by far the hardest part is reducing the stress that dog or cat is under. What we are trying to do here , it’s to straighten them out in foster care. But we can’t do that all the time. So we have the best facilities I think anywhere in the UK to keep the stress down to a minimum. I can’t think of any other RSPCA facility that has hydrotherapy for dogs for example that have muscle wasting and need to muscle up once more.
The new Mount Noddy also has veterinary facilities.
Mr Fogle added: ‘Pets At Home have been very generous in providing the veterinary equipment.’
He concluded by praising the government’s Animal Welfare (Sensitivity) Act 2022.
“We just passed what I think is the best animal welfare bill in the world.”
Guests at the event included West Sussex High Sheriff James Whitmore, Chichester MP Gillian Keegan, West Sussex County Council Leader Paul Marshall, who is also a trustee of the charity, and Chief of Chichester District Council Eileen Lintill.
Ms Keegan said: “It’s been fantastic. I came here in March 2019 just before lockdown – and they’ve been doing it all since then. During one of the toughest times they’ve raised funds, they have building the new center here. The hydrotherapy pool is a real highlight of the tour. It’s amazing what the community has done here to make sure we take care of the animals, especially those in distress. i just heard of it’s actually those whose owners are looked after and as minister of social care it’s something i hadn’t really thought about – what happens to animals when people potentially have a change in circumstances when they’re older.”