Saturday, 04 December 2021

Campaign to save rescue centre

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to stop the Blue Cross animal rehoming centre in Lewknor from closing.

The national charity says it needs to make £1 million in savings following the coronavirus pandemic and no longer needs the London Road centre as its rehoming requirements in this region can be met by its centre in Burford.

The move puts 110 staff at risk of redundancy.

Georgina Heritage, who is a volunteer at the centre, has started a petition calling for it to be kept open.

She said: “The rehoming services and aftercare offered by the Lewknor centre have vital importance. They ensure the highest quality of care to homeless pets and are highly valued by our local communities.

“The centre covers the needs of a wide area including South Oxforshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and West London that Burford would certainly struggle to fulfil.

“And for our local fosterers, Burford is too distant to offer the level of support that Lewknor provides, especially with complex cases. Lewknor is also the closest rehoming centre to the Blue Cross hospitals in London.

“Charity funding has been hit by the effects of covid but I believe Blue Cross hasn’t considered the wider implications of closing this ideally located rehoming centre

“It’s anticipated that a record number of pets will be given up for rehoming as people return to work this year. Now, more than ever, we need Lewknor to remain open and offer vital support to pets in need.”

The centre, which opened in 2005, has facilities for 24 dogs and 40 cats.

A Blue Cross spokeswoman said the closure decision was made with “deep regret” following a “challenging” period.

She continued: “Blue Cross has explored several options to ensure financial sustainability for the charity and its work going forward.

“We are extremely thankful to our dedicated teams for the services they have delivered over the last 12 months in difficult circumstances and what has been a year like no other.

“But, like so many other charities, we are not immune to the effects of the pandemic, which has had a significant impact on our financial position.

“We need to make
£1 million worth of savings in 2021. We also need the right structure in place to ensure we are best placed to fulfil our three-year strategy to help more pets and people who need our help across the UK.

“We know this will be a difficult and unsettling time for those affected. Their wellbeing is of the highest priority to us. Each of our colleagues will be fully supported by our elected employee representatives, their managers and our executive team.

“We also wish to reassure supporters and colleagues while the consultation process is taking place, the charity and its staff and volunteers will still be carrying out all our vital services and support for pet owners.”

To sign the petition, visit www.change.org/p/blue-cross-
head-office-save-blue-cross-lewknor-rehoming-centre

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