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THE newly-elected chair of a Melksham animal welfare charity has promised a fresh focus on fundraising after a dramatic increase in running costs.
During the last financial year Cats Action Trust North & West Wiltshire saw its expenses leap from almost £41,000 to more than £51,000.
Much of the increase is due to the veterinary costs associated with providing care to a growing number of abandoned animals, including many cases of neglect and injury.
Now Tracy Waldron, the new chair of the charity, hopes to attract more support from the local community. In particular, she hopes to recruit younger volunteers and those with an interest in organising their own fundraising events.
Tracy said, “The charity’s long-term aim is to establish a re-homing centre but in the short-term we clearly need to address the increase in running costs.
“The main challenge is that we have so many animals in need of a new home but not enough people coming forward to adopt them. “During one month this summer we had more than 40 cats and kitten in care, receiving 20 but only re-homing six. This means we have to continue paying our foster families for the animals’ food, litter, veterinary bills and other costs.
“We also have to find the money for when a cat needs particularly expensive treatment due to illness or injury – for example we recently had to pay £500 when one of our animals needed to have an eye removed.
“So one of my first priorities is to look at more ways of raising money while reducing expenditure.”
Local supporters can already donate cat food at collection points in the Beeches Veterinary Centre and Sainsburys, as well as at the charity’s Bath Road shop. This helps to reduce running costs.
The shop also welcomes donations of good-quality clothes, books, toys, CDs, DVDs, accessories and bric-a-brac which can be re-sold to generate more money.
Tracy added, “It would be great if more local businesses wanted to act as food collection points, or perhaps some of the bigger firms might want to organise their own collections amongst staff.
“We’d also love to hear from anyone interested in arranging their own fundraising event, anything from a cake sale, quiz night or raffle to a sponsored half-marathon or a parachute jump!
“We already have a dedicated team of volunteers providing all sorts of fantastic support but I hope to bring some fresh ideas which will encourage even more people to get involved, particularly the younger generation who have the extra energy to carry the charity into the future.
“Working together, we can give these cats and kittens a second chance at a happy life.”
For further information on volunteering or fundraising, call (01380) 721272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
View the animals available for adoption at www.catsactiontrust.org.uk or find the charity on Facebook and Twitter.