Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home suffers 15 job cuts and faces £650k of losses in 2020 alone over Covid-19 fundraising impact

The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home is facing £650,000 of losses this year alone – and has been forced to cut 15 jobs – due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on its fundraising activities.

Sunday, 16th August 2020, 10:00 am

The animal welfare charity, which receives no regular government funding, has had to cease all commercial operations and face-to-face community events.

Organisational changes announced today include the permanent closure of its Stockbridge and Portobello charity shops, ending the 'pet boarding' service for people going on short travel breaks and a restructure across its fundraising, communications, business support and animal care teams.

Despite furloughing almost half of its 65 staff to get through the short-term impact of the crisis, the charity has been forced to make 15 redundancies, which were finalised following a month-long consultation period during June and July.

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Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home CEO, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine.

‘Heartbreaking’

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home CEO, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, said: "The team at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home has worked tirelessly through the Covid-19 crisis to continue to protect and care for animals whose owners can no longer do so.

"During this period we have been overwhelmed by the love and support of our local community who have rallied behind us, but unfortunately it has not been enough to shield us from the devastating financial losses from cancelled events, cancelled fundraising initiatives and cancelled pet boarding bookings, the closure of our shops, and the evaporation of multiple other income streams."

She continued: “The home currently has enough reserves to remain in operation until the end of 2020 but its medium to long-term future is uncertain without making significant organisational changes.

"The closure of our shops and boarding has brought with it a huge amount of nostalgia and appreciation for everything our staff, supporters, customers and volunteers have done for these services over the years. These decisions have been heart-breaking, but we know that we must put the future of the home first and make every decision on the best interests of our animals."

The charity has been carrying out its mission to rescue, reunite and rehome stray, lost and abandoned dogs and cats since 1883 and is part of the fabric of Edinburgh and the Lothians.

In recent years the home has been under new leadership and has expanded its work in the community, including the launch of an educational outreach programme and a pet food bank for pet owners experiencing financial hardship.

Challenges

Although this important work has continued throughout the Covid-19 crisis, the pandemic has had a substantial impact on its finances with losses in excess of £650,000 in 2020 alone.

As well as fundraising struggles, the charity says it was also ineligible to access various Covid-19 emergency funds for charities from both government funds and charitable trusts.

The government-imposed lockdown and travel ban caused an immediate drop in demand and closure of their pet boarding service. The ongoing uncertainty around the future of travel and the costs associated with running this service, has resulted in it no longer being a viable area of income generation for the charity.

Challenges faced by the home’s charity shops have been reflective of those across the Scottish retail sector, with substantial losses during the lockdown closure.

With continued uncertainty, and in order to protect staff, volunteers and customers, the home has chosen to make this closure permanent and redirect its limited resources to more sustainable and cost-effective income generating activities.

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home is currently developing a new strategy focusing on long term sustainable income streams in order to continue to rescue, reunite and rehome stray, lost and abandoned pets for years to come.

In 2019, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home rescued 499 dogs and 152 cats.

It costs around £2.7 million a year to run Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.

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