VOLUNTEERS say the future of a much-loved animal shelter has been thrust into uncertainty after a takeover.
Workers at the Stubbington Ark fear they could lose their jobs after it was taken over by the RSPCA with immediate effect, an anonymous source has said.
The centre at Ranvilles Farm had previously been operating as an independent charity, under licence from the RSPCA.
But after one of the shelter’s three trustees stepped down on October 30, the RSPCA filled the role with one of its owns officers – taking full control of the site.
Soon after, workers’ fundraising efforts to rebuild the site’s cattery have controversially been put on hold by the national charity.
A December 2 launch event was set to get the drive fully under way.
A volunteer at Stubbington Ark – who wishes to remain anonymous – told The News: ‘After a trustee stepped down, we quickly had two more people lined up for that role within days. Why did the RSPCA fill it themselves and why have they now stopped us from raising money for our cattery? We were told after an inspection it would need to be renovated or it could close.
‘Now, people are worried it might and they’re worried they will lose their jobs. I’ve seen people in tears because of all this because they don’t know what it means – it’s like a coup.’
Addressing the fears of workers at the Stubbington Ark, a spokesperson for the RSPCA said: ‘There were no longer enough local trustees to form a committee for the branch and under RSPCA rules this automatically means the Solent Branch has been taken into National Society council trusteeship in the short term. No jobs are at risk from the recent changes.’
The charity said efforts to rebuild the cattery had been halted to allow full consideration of what a renovation should include.
This, claims the anonymous volunteer, is ‘completely unnecessary’.
They said: ‘We have had plans to rebuild the cattery for a long time now and have already had large pledges towards our £200,000 target.
‘To cancel something that so many people have been working so hard on is completely unnecessary. It wouldn’t cost the RSPCA a penny.’