South London branch wants donations to support food bank scheme
Feeding a pet can put pressure on a tight budget
The South London branch of the RSPCA is appealing for pet food donations as its food bank scheme comes under increasing demand due to cost of living pressures.
The RSPCA Wimbledon, Wandsworth & Sutton Branch provide donations of pet food to the Wimbledon Foodbank, Earlsfield Foodbank and Wandsworth Foodbank, to ensure that owners who have fallen on hard times can still feed their pets.
The scheme was initially set-up at the beginning of the pandemic and during that time staff and volunteers were working hard to provide three days of food packages for up to 150 people a day. Now they have expanded the area they cover and the number of owners and pets they help.
Carmel Suthons-Saker, RSPCA Trustee, Wimbledon, Wandsworth & Sutton Branch, said, “We were the first branch to initiate this scheme in the midst of a pandemic when there were food shortages and people’s finances were beginning to take a hit. We could see there was a real need to support pet owners who had fallen on hard times so that they could stay with their much-loved pets. Now two years later and we are in a cost of living crisis which has put further strain on people’s finances and the food bank scheme is needed now more than ever.”
It comes as the RSPCA releases its inaugural report, in partnership with the Scottish SPCA - the Animal Kindness Index - which looks at the nation’s attitude towards animals.
The report, based on a YouGov survey of more than 4,000 UK adults, revealed that the rising cost of living and the cost of pet ownership could threaten our love for our pets, with 72% of pet owners saying they think the cost of living will impact their animals, almost 70% expressing concern that the cost of care was increasing, and a fifth worried about how they’ll afford to feed their pets. The study showed cat owners seem to be most impacted and concerned about cost of living pressures.
In London, 55% of people said that the cost of looking after their pet had become more expensive over the last 12 months while 34% said they were worried about being able to afford to properly care for their pet and 24% said they were worried about the cost of feeding their pets.
The RSPCA has around 150 branches and many of them have their own food bank partnership, delivering donated pet food to those who need it to improve animal welfare and help the local community.
The RSPCA is seeing an increase in rescued animals coming into its care with many centres already full and others close to capacity, at the same time as rehoming is slowing down and signs that more people are looking to give up their pets.
Research by the charity shows in April 2021 there were around 4,400 searches per month around ‘giving up pets’ and in April 2022 this figure rose by 50% to a high of 6,600.
Donations can be made online or shoppers at local Pets At Home New Malden and Plough Lane are able to donate items at a collection point in the stores.
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