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A MELKSHAM charity has received some welcome Christmas cheer after reaching a major milestone in raising awareness of its work.
Cats Action Trust North & West Wiltshire now has more than 1,000 people engaging with its social media profiles on Facebook and Twitter.
Despite having no paid staff and relying entirely upon the hard work of volunteers, the charity has doubled the number of supporters in just over a year. It hopes the higher profile will attract more fundraisers and adopters at a time of immense pressure.
Trust social media co-ordinator Karine Chevalier-Watts, from Bowerhill, has been the driving force behind the charity’s use of Facebook and Twitter. She said. “We never realised it would have such an amazing impact upon our work and enable us to reach out to so many more people.
“This is especially important when all charities are trying to engage with the younger generation who will be our future supporters.
“In the past we had to rely on people visiting our website to look through a gallery of the latest cats and kittens in need of a new home. Now they can be kept up to date on any of their mobile devices and all of the communication with our supporters is more proactive and personal.”
Descriptions include names and ages of the animals, together with information about the most suitable environment. Some may prefer older owners in quieter homes; others may enjoy a family with children or pets for company.
The social media profiles also include links to interesting articles and recent media coverage of the Trust’s activities, as well as amusing photographs or videos, but one of the big successes has been in reuniting missing pets with their owners.
Karine added, “People ask us to issue appeals when their animal can’t be found, while others will get in touch if they find an animal but don’t know if it belongs to anyone. We’ve managed to reunite lots of animals with their relieved owners.
“We also recently issued an appeal for extra donations to help look after abandoned animals during the winter, and were delighted when a lady immediately responded with a generous donation of £100 and a promise of further donations on a regular basis.
“It demonstrates how social media can be used to engage with a whole new audience, enabling us to rescue and rehome even more cats and kittens.”
Cats Action Trust North & West Wiltshire recently saw its annual expenditure rise from almost £41,000 to more than £51,000 and desperately needs more support. Food can be donated at collection points in the Beeches Veterinary Centre and Sainsburys, and at the charity’s Bath Road shop.
The shop also welcomes donations of good-quality clothes, books, toys, CDs, DVDs, accessories and bric-a-brac.
View the animals available for adoption at www.catsactiontrust.org.uk or search for the charity on Facebook or Twitter. Email firstname.lastname@example.org