Three ways you can help pioneering RSPCA Sussex animal rescue centre raise its £600,000 annual running costs

The RSPCA’s Mount Noddy animal rescue centre near Chichester has been transformed to provide state of the art care for abandoned cats and dogs.

But it costs more than £600,000 a year to operate the Eartham centre – even though it has a tiny staff of less than ten and a huge network of unpaid volunteers.

Here are ways that you can help the RSPCA Sussex West Branch:

Become a Friend – you will receive a quarterly e-newsletter, an invitation to an annual Friends’ open day, and admission to four talks a year at the centre. You can become a Friend for a minimum donation of £2.50 a month or £30 per year. https://www.rspcasussexwest.org.uk/become-a-friend

Dr Bruce Fogle, Woody and Su Botherway (Centre Manager). Official Reopening of Mount Noddy, RSPCA Sussex West Centre. Pic Steve Robards SR2207021

Become an ambassador – help raise awareness of the work by attending events and encourage others to get involved.

The trustees are hugely proud that their vision to create a flagship animal rehoming centre to provide the highest standards of welfare and accommodation, based on the latest animal science for local cats and dogs, is now a reality.

On Saturday July 2, the new centre was officially opened by President Bruce Fogle – with volunteers, supporters, staff, trustees and community representatives all in agreement that it was a magnificent achievement.

A few years ago, the future for the 50 year old centre looked bleak.

Nick Cockram, chairman, told guests: “About four years ago Mount Noddy as this place was known was just about done for. It was out of money, it was falling to bits, and there was serious consideration for closing it. But it didn't happen because of some extraordinary acts of kindness, expertise and commitment from people.

“The RSPCA is probably the only charity that will deal with animals in the most extreme circumstances - the most abused, the most neglected and those with extreme suffering. We are, of course, a rehoming centre as well. And it is our inspectors who set the RSPCA apart from other animal charities.

"I will go through a list of thank yous but I will begin with one that stood out - from a lady called Miss Melvin, sadly dead. She left us an enormous legacy which enabled us to to plan to rebuild this in 2018.”

That multi-million pound legacy combined with the enormous courage of trustees and everyone involved saw the project begin in earnest during lockdown.

In officially opening the new centre, Mr Fogle said: “The biggest pleasure for me is seeing how a community such as this in West Sussex can come together, almost invariably everyone volunteering, to create a space like this. This has been produced by people who volunteer to walk dogs that find themselves here, it's created by people who volunteer to look at spreadsheets and work out how can we cover the cost of this. It's so gratifying.

"There is no government funding for animal welfare for organisations such as this. Those people who leave legacies to the RSPCA are perpetuating the world's oldest animal welfare organisation. But we here in West Sussex don't receive any of that money. We depend totally on what we can raise for ourselves on our own to provide the facilities.

“What impresses me with what goes on here is you have a very small staff - less than ten people. And the amount of work that they do is absolutely brilliant. I am so impressed by what Su does as the manager here. When you look at the detail of all the facilities here - we've got a dog lounge for dogs, we have steps for cats to hop up into a box – everything is so well thought out for a welfare facility.

"Just recycling a dog or a cat - rescuing it, rehabilitating it and rehoming it - that sounds easy but by far the most difficult part is reducing the stress that that dog or that cat experiences. What we try to do here is get them straight into a foster home. But we can't do that all the time. So we have the best facilities I think anywhere in the UK to keep stress down to a minimum level. I can't think of any other RSPCA facility that has hydrotherapy for dogs for example that have muscle wasting and need to build up their muscles once more.”

The new Mount Noddy also has veterinary facilities.

Mr Fogle added: “Pets At Home have been very generous in providing the veterinary equipment.”

He concluded by praising the Government’s Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022.

“We have just passed what I think is the best animal welfare bill in the world.”

Guests at the event included the High Sheriff of West Sussex James Whitmore, the MP for Chichester Gillian Keegan, the leader of West Sussex County Council Paul Marshall who is also a trustee of the charity, and the leader of Chichester District Council Eileen Lintill.

Mrs Keegan said: "It's fantastic. I came here in March 2019 just before lockdown – and they have done all this since then. During one of the most difficult times they have raised the money, they have built the new centre here. The hydrotherapy pool is a real highlight of the tour. It is amazing what the community has done here to ensure we take care of animals particularly those in distress. What I have just been hearing about is actually those whose owners go into care and as social care minister that's something I hadn't really been thinking about - what happens to animals when people potentially have a change in situation when they are older."