The RSPCA has expanded its food bank partnership to cover Cheshire and Merseyside for pet owners who are struggling.
In November (2020) Deputy Chief Inspector Alison Fletcher, who works in Lancashire, decided to link-up with food banks in the area to provide them with pet food for owners who were struggling to make ends meet. Starting with five areas across Lancashire, the scheme has now been rolled out across Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside meaning it covers nearly all of the North West.
RSPCA Inspector Leanne Cragg, who works in Cheshire and Merseyside, is coordinating the project across the two counties.
She said: “This scheme is aimed at helping people in crisis by providing them with pet food to make sure they can continue to care for their pets even when times are hard. We know that the Coronavirus pandemic has hit people’s finances and our concern is that this could have a significant impact on animal welfare. By helping owners across Cheshire and Merseyside we hope to prevent that from happening. It’s a very rewarding part of my job to know that I’ve not only helped the animal by providing them with the diet they need, but also helped the person by making things easier for them to keep their much-loved pet.”
Leanne and her colleagues will deliver the pet food to the food banks once a month so it can be distributed as and when it is needed. The first delivery took place on 17 March.
All the food banks which have partnered with the RSPCA in Cheshire and Merseyside are provided by the Trussell Trust, and these include:
St Helen’s Foodbank
South Liverpool Foodbank
West Cheshire Foodbank
Mid Cheshire Foodbank
Compassion Acts (Southport Foodbank)
As well as providing pet food, the RSPCA inspectors can also refer those who are struggling to the food bank so they can get food for themselves and any extra support they may need.
Since March, the Coronavirus pandemic has hit people’s finances hard whether through redundancies, long-term furlough, or a local business struggling to make ends meet. The RSPCA knows that more people are turning to food banks for support but up until recently there wasn’t much provision for pet food in the North West, as the services understandably had to prioritise human food.
The pet food has been donated by kind members of the public through the charity’s branches to feed the animals in their care and any leftovers have been donated to the foodbank project.
Leanne added: “It’s fantastic what we can do when we all pull together and I’m so pleased we’ve been able to roll this scheme out across Cheshire and Merseyside to help pets and their owners.”