Our Enablers

Ensuring our people, income, technology and systems support the effective delivery of this strategy, recognising their vital impact and contribution.

Our Work

Our charity is reliant on the outstanding generosity of the public to continue to fund our vital services helping dogs and cats and the people who care for them, and we value every single donation — no matter how big or small.

Like all charities, Battersea had to cancel much of our planned fundraising activity in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We lost opportunities to meet and recruit new supporters face to face through events and in the community, and from our supporters taking part in challenge events to raise funds for our charity.

Fortunately, we have always had many generous supporters who choose to recognise us in their Will. Legacy donations have steadily risen over the past few years, and in 2020 we received record legacy income in excess of £20 million. This generous support helped us offset the financial hit of cancelling multiple challenge events due to Covid-19 restrictions and enabled us to support smaller animal rescue centres who were struggling financially.

In 2020 we recruited 55,000 new regular supporters. Our cash and raffle appeals exceeded all expectations with supporters giving more generously than ever before. We invested in our supporter communications to better connect with our donors, including providing pet advice, uplifting digital content, and updates on how we were responding to the pandemic. Our Trust donors generously gave Battersea more than £50,000 in funding specifically in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, active engagement with our Muddy Dog Challenge participants meant we retained 4,800 participants to take on the challenge in 2021.

We also adapted our fundraising activity, looking for different opportunities to engage supporters. This included the launch of My Muddy Dog Challenge, which encouraged animal lovers to complete 5km their own way to raise money for Battersea. It received 2,100 sign-ups and raised over £100,000 in income. We rounded off the year with another Battersea first, a virtual carol concert in December, livestreamed on Facebook from our London centre. Hosted by our good friend and TV personality, Sue Perkins, the concert featured a live choir, appearances by Battersea animals, staff and volunteers, and video messages from our Ambassadors Paul O’Grady MBE and Dame Jacqueline Wilson DBE, and BBC Radio 1’s Greg James — all Battersea animal owners.

55,000 new regular supporters

78,461 hours donated by volunteers

2,100 My Muddy Dog participants

Our thanks go once again to players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Their support led to £700,000 of funding in 2021, bringing the total raised for Battersea to an incredible £4.35 million since 2014. We were also grateful to be a chosen charity for the annual ICAP Charity Trading Day, securing a donation of £75,000 for our Grants programme. Held virtually for the first time, the fundraiser involved our Ambassador Amanda Holden and high-profile friends Tom Holland, Sara Cox and James McVey.

We partnered with Mars Petcare on a ‘Buy 1, Feed 1’ campaign on their Pedigree brand across all Asda stores from October to November 2020 and secured over £125,000 in income. Five new partnerships were also secured in 2020 including King.com, who supported Battersea through its incredibly popular app-based game ‘Pet Rescue Saga’. As well as raising £50,000, this partnership provided a great opportunity for us to engage a new and younger audience.

Our Christmas catalogue sales were up 73% year on year, and 23 licensed Battersea products could be found across 441 UK stores as a result of exciting new product ranges being launched with Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and M&S.

IN FOCUS - Challenge Accepted

With the vast majority of largescale events cancelled due to Covid-19, a new type of challenge saw Battersea supporters rally to support our work and help raise vital funds.

After postponing our popular Muddy Dog Challenge events in line with Government safety guidelines, our teams quickly got to work creating the My Muddy Dog Challenge, a 2.5km or 5km walk or run that the public could complete with their dog from home. We were amazed by the incredible commitment and determination of the 2,100 participants and their four-legged companions who, come rain or shine up and down the country, completed their challenges to help our dogs and cats.

Throughout the year, a wave of ‘at home heroes’ also came up with a variety of other ways to raise money for Battersea, including many arranged as part of the 2.6 Challenge on what would have been the day of the London Marathon – the world’s biggest one-day annual fundraising event.

Volunteering, Fostering
and Communities

Battersea could not deliver our work and impact without the help of our volunteers, foster carers and Community Rehoming Volunteers. It was thanks to our incredible network of foster carers that we were able to continue to help many animals during lockdown. Over the initial weeks of the pandemic, we were astounded by the loving care and commitment of both new and experienced foster carers who played a vital role in Battersea’s response to the pandemic. An emergency fostering effort in March saw more than 160 dogs and cats placed in temporary foster homes in just a couple of weeks, enabling us to scale down to operating at minimum capacity. In total, 699 animals were fostered across the year, each benefitting from a home environment.

At the end of the year, Battersea had 947 volunteers, an increase from 902 in 2019, following the recruitment of Community Rehoming Volunteers in Guildford and Ashford, and additional foster carers. Between them during 2020, our volunteers, foster carers and Community Rehoming Volunteers contributed 78,461 hours to our charity.

With Covid-19 restrictions preventing many volunteers from coming onto our sites, the Volunteering team worked hard to keep volunteers engaged and updated throughout the year. This scope of work incorporated the launch of a Facebook group and delivery of over 70 webinars, including the replacement of our annual Volunteering Conference with two specific webinars led by Battersea’s CEO, Deputy CEO, and Head of Volunteering, Fostering and Communities.

We were also delighted that our Volunteering, Fostering and Communities programme was awarded the prestigious Investing in Volunteers (IiV) Award for the second time. Re-accreditation for this began in the latter half of 2020, in which 72 volunteers, foster carers and Community Rehoming Volunteers were interviewed and surveyed, as well as 13 members of staff.

IN FOCUS - A Home From Home

The country may have been in lockdown for most of 2020, but the unconditional care of Battersea’s temporary foster carers remained unfaltering. Having looked after more than 300 cats and kittens for Battersea over the years, husband and wife team, Nikki Danford and Peter Browne, were happy to provide a temporary home for Lola, who arrived at our Old Windsor cattery heavily pregnant in March, after being found living as a stray. But the veteran foster carers were in for an experience they won’t forget in a hurry when it was time for Lola to give birth to her kittens.

When the third kitten of the litter arrived, Nikki and Peter could immediately tell something was wrong. Try as she might, the birthing sac containing kitten number three was proving impenetrable for Lola to lick off, as would be the normal procedure for a cat giving birth.

Nikki says, “The kitten was lying there in the sac, lifeless, while Lola tried frantically to open it, but we knew she had to concentrate on the impending arrival of kitten number four. Peter realised what was happening and stepped in to help by gently removing the sac from around the kitten and rubbing him until he came to life and, thankfully, started to breathe on his own.

Named Daffodil, the little kitten made a full recovery. Along with his three sisters, Daffodil went on to provide lots of love and laughter for Nikki and Peter during the first few weeks of lockdown, growing into playful, confident kittens before they eventually went to their new homes.

Our People

Battersea placed a particular focus on supporting staff throughout the pandemic. Like many other charities, we took advantage of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme to enable us to retain our valued workforce during challenging times. Our charity is reliant on public donations to fund our work and we have a responsibility to spend every penny carefully. In receiving this financial assistance from the Government, we could support our staff that were unable to carry out their normal work, while continuing to use public donations to fund our charitable activities to help dogs and cats at our centres and beyond our gates. A total of 237 staff (45% of Battersea’s employees) were furloughed during 2020.

The change in working circumstances in 2020 for staff both on site and working from home, meant that support for emotional resilience, mental health, and wellbeing, was critical. Mental Health for Managers training was delivered to all managers, and 24 Mental Health First Aiders were trained. Battersea also provided Emotional Resilience workshops and shared mental health and wellbeing resources to all staff.

To enable staff to work from home, the capacity of Battersea’s remote working system was rapidly expanded in just two weeks, with IT equipment provided where needed. A swiftly developed programme of online training meant 88% of staff were able develop their skills and knowledge through formal learning or training. Battersea’s own online Learning Management System was launched in October 2020, enabling staff to access learning content at any time and on any device. Since launching, 346 Battersea staff have accessed 45 pieces of content over 1,000 times.