Calls for action after redundancies made at Stubbington Ark animal shelter

URGENT calls have been made for people to step in and volunteer after it was revealed that a much-loved animal centre is facing staffing redundancies.

Friday, 30th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:04 pm
Marianne Thompson, the Stubbington Ark's head of cattery ,with Harry

Staff at the Stubbington Ark animal shelter in Ranvilles Lane say it is being forced to make six redundancies – equating to a ninth of its current workforce – due to a ‘significant’ reduction in income over the last few years.

It is run by the RSPCA and is one of the largest animal shelters in the country.

It relies on legacy income – when money is donated to a charity in a person’s will – donations and its shops for funding.

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According to the shelter, the drop in income has led to a ‘restructuring’ of the centre, to prevent the risk of potential closure in the future.

Hazel Croft-Phillips, a volunteer at the centre and former trustee, says animal lovers now need to club together to help the shelter.

She said: ‘The centre gets very little money from the RSPCA so it relies on its volunteers and legacy funding.

‘It costs £3,000 to run a day, which is an astronomical amount of money, and people need to do all they can to help.

‘It’s very sad that redundancies are being made.

‘The staff put so much effort in to help people there.’

Her calls for action were echoed by Councillor Chris Wood, who represents Stubbington on Fareham Borough Council.

He said: ‘Stubbington Ark has been a vital and constant presence in the area for years.

‘It is clear that it needs some help and I urge those who can help to get involved and offset these redundancies.

‘It means so much to the people of the area and we need to safeguard its future.’

The shelter was previously at a crisis point in 2013 after an unexpected boom in abandoned cats.

Rumours earlier this summer that the shelter was at risk of closure were dismissed.

Of the six jobs going, five people took voluntary redundancy.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: ‘The Solent branch of the RSCPA opened a consultation earlier this year to look at ways of improving the services it offers, in order to be more efficient, save money and target the animals most in need.

‘At the heart of plan has been protecting front-line animal welfare services and Stubbington Ark in Fareham will remain open and continue to rescue, rehome and care for the many animals in need in the region.

‘The branch is an independent charity reliant on legacies as well as its shops for funding.

‘Unfortunately, the branch’s legacy income has 
reduced significantly in recent years while the number of animals needing help has increased.

‘This means the branch has to restore the way it works which means a very minimal number of jobs will be affected.’