Leaders call for residents aid to help out Stubbington Ark

RTA in New Road, Swanmore

Young girl ‘in serious but stable condition’ after being hit by car outside secondary school

  • Volunteer worker says Stubbington Ark at risk of closure
  • Council leader says he’s heard ‘unpleasant stories’ of how the centre is faring and calls on residents to offer support
  • RSPCA claim shelter is not in danger
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LEADERS have issued a rallying cry to help save a much-loved animal shelter.

The cry came as a volunteer of the Stubbington Ark animal shelter said that the centre no longer has a fundraising manager and that the centre has ‘almost given up hope’ on its future.

The shelter in Ranvilles Lane, which is run by the RSPCA but relies on legacy income and fundraising, recently had to make six redundancies to cope with the reduction in income.

But despite the that move, the centre, which covers 400sq miles across the Portsmouth and Southampton area, remains at risk of closure.

Bobbie Ferguson, a volunteer worker at Stubbington Ark, said: ‘They don’t have much money to keep it going for long.

‘The thing is that the Ark has to make money but now they just don’t have the resources to make that happen.

‘Unfortunately, it looks like the Ark is at serious risk of going down.’

Southampton-based fundraising consultants Naked Fundraising – which played a key role in helping to keep open the Rainbow Centre – was brought in in 2014 to help, but the Ark remains at risk of closure.

Nikki Radcliffe, Naked Fundraising’s director said: ‘We were brought in to look at the situation and act on it.

‘We did what we were asked to do and the branch manager said at the time that he was happy with the work that we did.

‘We did as much as possible but it was very difficult to bring anything new there.’

The consultant says it secured sponsors for three of the kennel blocks, ran a Big Walkies dog walk and held a medieval knights event to raise funds during the contract.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council said: ‘I’ve heard some rather unpleasant 
stories about how the shelter is doing.

‘The current situation is very sad and I now urge people to absolutely get behind the shelter as they do such fantastic work.

‘The Ark needs to be kept open but they must be transparent about what they do with their money.’

He called on residents to get involved by either offering their time as a volunteer, by making a donation, or putting bequests to the shelter in their wills.

He also called on schools in the area to get involved with fundraising activities.

Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, who is a former honorary vice-president to the RSPCA, added: ‘Animal welfare is an issue that is very close to my heart and I have huge respect for the work of the Stubbington Ark.

‘I would encourage anyone interested in volunteering to contact the Ark and see what they can do to help out.’

It costs around £3,200 to keep the shelter running every day.

A spokeswoman for the Ark claimed that the shelter was not in any danger of closing but reiterated that a 
consultation was opened by the RSPCA earlier this year in which the charity looked to save money.

She added: ‘Stubbington Ark will remain open and continue to rescue and rehabilitate animals in its care.

‘Its priority will continue to be to rescue, rehome and care for many of the animals in the region.’