[O]ak Tree Animals’ Charity in Wetheral has been awarded the accolade of ‘Best Animal Support NPO 2017’ in the 2017 North West Enterprise Awards, hosted by SME News. The award recognised the enterprising work done by the Charity both in terms of its animal welfare work and also for its work to generate the income required to fund this much needed work in Cumbria.
Oak Tree Animals’ Charity helped over 900 animals in our region in 2016 both through rehoming and its extensive Community programme, aiming to reach animals in need at the heart of the community where help is needed most.
Caroline Johnson, General Manager at Oak Tree explains “Oak Tree Animals’ Charity are delighted to have been nominated and awarded this fabulous accolade for our work. Oak Tree provides a great rehoming service for dogs, cats and horses but also looks to address the wider animal welfare issues we face in Cumbria. Rehoming is intrinsically reactive, relationships have broken down causing stress to both animal and owner. A large part of our work, through our Community Team, is to be proactive as a Charity in our approach, helping to support animals and owners in their home and prevent any unnecessary suffering.”
“Our teams work to offer free advice and education to everyone in our region about pet ownership, and support vulnerable pet owners in a wide range of environments including working with animal hoarding cases, owners at risk of homelessness, feral cat colonies and individuals in need of neutering support.”
Oak Tree’s work can be extremely costly and the Charity relies solely on donations from their supporters. However, with the changing economic climate, household budgets are tighter and people, however willing, are less able to donate to charities. Founded in 1909, the Charity has a rich heritage in both local and national animal welfare and has made a difference to thousands of animal lives. To help tackle the funding issues that charities face, Oak Tree have looked to ways of diversifying income streams to ensure that they are able to remain sustainable as an organisation and capable of helping animals for the next 100 years. In 2016 the charity incorporated and took the opportunity to rebrand from the ‘Animals’ Refuge’ in recognition of the breadth of animal welfare work the Charity undertakes.
Caroline explains “Funding is always a challenge for charities and we have a duty to our supporters past and present to ensure we take steps to overcome this. We have the benefit of a wonderful 72 acre site overlooking the Lakeland Fells and so we have looked to develop this, and our other activities, to help us generate the funds we need. This has included a cost management evaluation, growth of our fabulous tearoom, letting of buildings to local business, the development of our rural craft units onsite and hosting of a number of community-based events such as exhibitions, fairs and sales. We hope to be able to open our first charity shop in 2018 and are currently hunting for suitable premises.
“We are so grateful to our wonderful supporters, without whom we would be unable to reach as many vulnerable animals and hope that our hard work to generate our own income will supplement their amazing generosity and allow us to continue to carry on this vital work in our community for future generations.”
For more information about Oak Tree Animals’ Charity or how you can help the charity to be able to assist the animals in our region, please visit www.oaktreeanimals.org.uk or call 01228 560082.