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Generous Islanders pull JSPCA out of cash crisis

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THE Animals’ Shelter has been pulled from the midst of a financial crisis by generous Islanders, according to its interim chief executive, with donations and legacies from the public up by £400,000 in the past year.

Kevin Keen at the Animals Shelter Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (24707092)

The rescue comes after a turbulent few years for the organisation, which has been forced to take loans from the States and a private company to help balance the books.

A States police investigation, which has been running for at least two years, continues into the charity’s finances, the force confirmed.

This week, interim JSPCA chief executive Kevin Keen, who was drafted into the role in 2018 to help save the charity, said things were looking positive for the future. He added that public donations and legacies were up £400,000 in the past 12 months, from £807,000 to £1.3 million.

The charity has also cut its wage bill by more than £100,000.

Mr Keen is a former chief executive of Jersey Post who helped steer it through the challenges it faced with the loss of the Island’s fulfilment industry following the withdrawal of low-value consignment relief in the UK.

He said: ‘Last year, when the Jersey community heard we were struggling they were quick to come to our aid, so sincere thanks to all the individuals and organisations that have helped us.

‘Jersey’s generous support means our financial crisis is now behind us, although like all charities the need to raise funds to continue our work is constant.

‘Donations have gone up. One of the sizeable legacies we had, though, was for about £300,000. While we are grateful for this generosity from people, we don’t want to have to rely on this and want to raise funds in other ways.

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‘And there are many companies who have shown interest and have said they will be backing the organisation again in 2019.’

As of 31 December, the accounts, which are publicly available online, show that total funds have increased from £3.39 million to £3.464 million in the last year.

A total of £481,500 worth of assets were sold off in 2017, compared with £18,500 last year.

Money paid out in wages has dropped from £1.231 million to £1.093 million, with staff numbers down from 41.5 to 34.5.

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Mr Keen, who took over the post last year, added: ‘We thank everyone for their generosity over the last year, and things are looking positive for the coming year. We are cautiously positive.

‘There has been an improvement but there is still much more work to do.’

In a release in the latest JSPCA newsletter, it is estimated that it will cost around £30,000 per week to continue the current operations of the JSPCA.

Figures have shown that each dog in the charity’s care costs around £147 per week, with each cat costing £49 and each wild animal costing £20 to rescue and care for.

Mr Keen added: ‘What would help us so much is if you would agree to donate just £5 per month to support our work. To encourage you to do so we will be holding a prize draw for all standing orders for at least £5 per month between 1 May and July 31.

‘If you can’t afford to make a regular donation please consider making a one-off donation, or get involved with the many events we will be holding in 2019. Anything you can do will be appreciated.’

Earlier this year the JSPCA received a £500,000 government loan at 5% interest.

A further loan with Acorn Finance Limited was repaid in April, and a £50,000 grant was received from the Association of Jersey Charities for computers and new software this year.

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