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.
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
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.
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.