SPCA to use $20k council grant in fundraising drive

By Lawrence Gullery

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The Hastings and district SPCA will use its $20,000 ratepayer grant to launch fundraising projects and programmes to move it back on track after the financial woes that almost forced its closure this year.

The one-off grant was made by the Hastings District Council in September but some councillors couldn't support the money being handed over because the SPCA had applied earlier in the year, when it was declined.

Others thought it would set a precedent for other organisations falling on hard financial times.

This week the council confirmed the $20,000 grant, which would be used to support the organisation's fundraising and other revenue generating initiatives so it could become "self reliant".

The first step was a partnership programme with the Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce which would encourage businesses to "align themselves with the organisation", the SPCA's new fundraising manager, Faye Johnson, said.

It could involve sponsorship or businesses offering their services to help the SPCA, she said.

"I have no doubt we will continue to have the community support which has already been shown this year."

Hastings and Districts SPCA president Sharon Arcus said some people had questioned whether animal welfare was a role for the council.

"But the funding decision reflects the fact that the majority of those living in Hastings do not like the thought of animals being abused or abandoned."

She said the SPCA was a service which was becoming "more difficult to finance every year".

"Funding deficits resulted in a reduction in services earlier this year and the shelter risked closure but support from council, the public and some significant grants have turned everything around and we are now feeling very positive about our future."

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said the SPCA was an important voice for animal welfare and required significant support from the community if it was to continue operating effectively.

"Council is concerned that the financial difficulties that the organisation finds itself in, may have a serious impact on its ability to continue the valuable role that it performs for the community."

Mr Yule said the council was confident the financial support would allow the organisation to move forward in working its way through the funding issues.

"The Hastings SPCA rescues thousands of animals each year and council is appreciative of the work the organisation does in rehousing and caring for neglected animals all around the district."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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