Looking at the finances of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

For the sake of complete accuracy, the title is Battersea Dogs & Cats Home (“Battersea”). An ampersand connects dogs and cats ?. I’m being picky but it needs to be accurate. In a 2016 YouGov poll Battersea was in the top ten of UK’s charities. This means that they are highly trusted and that they have a high profile in UK life. They are well known worldwide. It is an impeccable brand to use marketing terms and this is vital to their finances which are incredibly healthy, at least from my perspective.

Not that long ago they redesigned and rebuilt the center using architects to create a bright environment in recognition of the fact that it is located in a very dusty urban environment.

The first picture shows you how it looked.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is running out of cats!
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
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This is the modern recreation. I believe the architects were: Jonathan Clark Architects.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Photo: Architects Journal.

When you think of the multitude of small animal rescue organisations across the planet, some of which struggle – and I’m particularly familiar with those in America – you’ll see that Battersea is as solid as you can get in terms of budgeting and finances. They are big and have been in existence for a very long time: since 1860. It is in the heart of London on a busy road surrounded by high rise blocks and a railway line. It is dusty/dirty environment but the facilities are of a very high standard.

We have access to their accounts for the year ended December 31, 2015. A little while ago but it does give us a good feel for their finances. I expect the more recent figures to be higher but they might not be because of the cost-of-living crisis in the UK and Covid-19.

Accounts

I am being selective on these accounts as I must because to publish more would be boring.

The total income for the year ended December 31, 2015 was £36,716,707. They spent over £12 million raising donations and legacies. That is expenditure of £12 million in fundraising. They spent just over £20,000 on management fees for their investments and £625,066 for “activities for generating funds”.

They also spent £13,830,478 on the care of their dogs and cats at their facilities and £1,739,927 on education and awareness. So, they have quite heavy expenditure but the expenditure was less than their outgoings at the end of 2015 by just over £8 million on my calculation. That should mean money going into investments.

The cash in hand and at the bank in that year amounted to just over £17 million. They value their assets at just over £44 million.

Employee numbers and salaries

The salaries and wages for the year was £8,426,290 up from £7,220,245 the year before. The number of employees involved in the care of cats and dogs increased from drugs and 70 in 2014 to 286 and 2015. As at 2015, there were 28 staff involved in education and awareness and 26 support staff. There were 43 staff involved in activities for generating funds. And 6 staff are listed under “voluntary income”. I am unsure what that means but it seems to imply that they are volunteers providing their services free of charge. I could be wrong.

Conclusion on finances

Battersea is a huge rescue operation with three centers. Their finances are very healthy and substantial. I am sure that they are very careful with money and keep the money side of the operation as solid as possible with long-term planning.

What’s it like it Battersea?

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Photo: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Facebook page.

A valued staffer at Battersea, Joe Smith, the rehoming and welfare coordinator, said something very telling in an interview. He said:

“It’s good to see them go but hard to watch them leave”.

I think that sums up his work very well and it is a very elegant sentence. It must be the same for every worker at an animal rescue center. You live with your animals for a while, looking after them, and so you’re bound to be connected to them and possibly to individual cats and dogs more than others.

Workers have to break that bond when they say goodbye as they are adopted out to new homes. This must be a difficult part of their work. For example, Joe developed a bit of a bond with a timid dog who was frightened to go out into the yard because of the noise surrounding Battersea. Gradually Joe teased out some confidence in her to get her ready for rehoming. He said: “It’s just about giving these dogs the time that they need to come out of their shell.”

At Battersea, there are 80-90 cats at one time. The person in charge is Claire Davies. She has been at Battersea for about six years. Joe has been at Battersea for about five.

She thoroughly enjoys her work because it’s so varied and her primary objective is to move the cats through the rescue center to make room for newcomers. She said:

“One of the key aspects of my job is making sure that none of the cats is left stagnant, that they’ve always got a plan of action to help move them through their journey and help reduce the time that they’re year.”

She has echoed the findings of other rescue centres in that Covid-19 has had an impact and still apparently has an impact on animal rescue. The legacy of that pandemic is long lasting and negative.

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She says that there’s been a lot more cats with medical issues arriving at the center. There have also been more cats with behavioural issues coming to them. This of course means that they take longer to rehabilitate. This seems to be a legacy of Covid with cats acquired perhaps from backstreet breeders. The cats might not be socialised properly and almost inevitably with puppy mills, the animals are going to be less healthy than they should be.

The average time that cats remain at Battersea is around 22 days. The time has increased because of the reason mentioned above.

Battersea are currently looking for foster carers. Applicants should live within about one hour of the Battersea center.

Below are some more articles on cat rescue.

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