The Derbyshire Times has joined forces with Chesterfield and North Derbyshire RSPCA - calling on our readers to help with an ambitious project to refurbish the centre.
The charity says unless it can raise £1.5million to revamp the whole site on Spital Lane it may be forced to close its doors.
We are calling on our readers to back our Pounds for Pets appeal and raise £250,000 by the end of 2016 to complete the first stage of the project.
The centre is a vital hub for animal welfare, caring for and rehoming abandoned and unwanted animals from across north Derbyshire.
Since opening its doors in the 1960s the charity has cared for thousands of animals but demand continues to rise - and the buildings are no longer fit for purpose.
From leaking roofs and crumbling walls, the Chesterfield RSPCA branch is showing its age.
Built more than 50 years ago, the charity base is in desperate need of repairs to ensure its vital work continues.
Branch manager Rachel Gray said: “Ultimately, if we cannot carry out the improvement work needed, the situation could reach a stage where we would be forced to close our doors.
“This would be a huge loss to animal welfare and would take away a vital lifeline for animals in desperate need of help.”
Demand for the charity’s service is rising and more animals are coming in to their care now than ever before.
Rachel added: “The pressure on our services is growing. This comes at a time when this is more need than ever.”
Volunteers and staff are calling for community support in fundraising the major project to rebuilt the centre - which was built in 1960.
They hope to raise £250,000 by the end of 2016 - and we are calling for readers to get involved by supporting our Pounds For Pets appeal.
The branch is an independent charity, separate from the national RSPCA, so must raise all the money needed to both keep the animal centre open and pay for the improvements.
The aim is to have a fully modernised and updated base by the end of 2020.
Plans include cutting-edge animal accommodation, specialist facilities for the care of sick and injured pets and improvements to the visitor experience and accessibility.
The first steps will be to create new state-of-the-art pens for the rabbits as their current accommodation is no longer fit for purpose. The cat space will also be revamped and the main project will then be the redevelopment of the dog kennels.
Animal care manager Gary Taylor said over the years the buildings had become very tired and run down.
He added: “We have done our best to make do and mend while keeping the care of the animals our priority but it is now clear that we are facing major costs just to keep a roof over the animals’ heads.”
The centre is licensed to kennel as many as 50 dogs, 24 cats and various other small animals including rabbits, rodents, birds and livestock at the same time
But the refurbishment would mean more animals could be cared for and given the help they need.
Rachel said: “For more than 50 years we have been proud to be the local animal shelter for the Chesterfield and north Derbyshire area.
“We have taken in animals in need - finding them new, permanent, loving homes.
“Over the decades we have helped many thousands of abused, unwanted and abandoned animals.”
She added: “We have always been grateful for the amazing support given to us by the people of our local area.
“And we have every faith that they will continue to help us as we enter the next and very exciting chapter in our long history enabling us to achieve an Animal Centre that will remain at the heart of the community for many years to come.”
There are two main ways to donate:
Donations by post to the Animal Centre at 137 Spital Lane, Chesterfield, S41 0HL or telephone 01246 273358.
People can also donate online via www.justgiving.com/chesterfieldanimalcentrerebuildappeal
Cheques need to be made out to ‘RSPCA Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Branch’.
Special rebuild appeal fundraising packs are also available from the Animal Centre or via the website at www.chesterfield-rspca.org.uk.
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