New Penwortham RSPCA shop launches appeal for donations and volunteers
Preston's RSPCA animal centre is "completely dependent on local people" for its survival.
That's the message of the branch's shop coordinator, who is appealing for donations and volunteers for a new charity shop that has opened in 76 Liverpool Road, Penwortham, close to Ribble Vets and C & M Pet Supplies.
Claire Bradly Russell said the RSPCA Preston and District Branch Rehoming Centre in Slack Cottage, Longridge Road, is almost entirely self-funded through donations as it receives little national funding.
She added: "We couldn't do our job without our volunteers. They are the backbone of the branch and completely invaluable. Donations are also massive and people are very generous.
"Some people think the RSPCA is a national group but it's broken down into independent branches. We need £20,000 a month just to tread the water and keep going. We wouldn't be able to run the animal centre without it. We're not massively cash rich and we're not funded by big organisations so we're completely dependent on local people."
The Penwortham shop requires donated items like clothes, toys, ornaments, bags, accessories and pet products. Old towels and bedding will also be accepted for use at the Preston animal centre.
Claire also hopes to create a team of 12 to 30 volunteers aged over 18. Shifts normally last for two to four hours.
"We have a few people signed up but there are some gaps. We offer a whole array of roles, from working on the tills to cleaning and arranging window displays," she said.
"We'll invite people in for a chat and let them try different aspects until they find something they're comfortable with.
"Lots of our volunteers have mental health difficulties or disabilities and they do things like steaming, sorting out items or working on the tills. We can always find them something to do."
Volunteering offers a range of benefits, according to Claire, who added: "It's very rewarding. People have said it's saved their lives. It's sociable, and helps them feel part of a community and support a charity they love.
"Many students who want a career in animal welfare also help in the shops and some have stuck around for 10 years."
As the branch already has shops in Chorley and Longridge, Claire decided to set her sights on Penwortham.
She said: "Penwortham is quite an affluent and busy place and the chosen venue is situated near to Costa, the pet shop and the vets. There are several charity shops in the town now and people make an effort to have a day out visiting them. Having them all close together helps them and they're a popular choice for shopping because people are recycling more and watching their pennies."