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RSPCA to make 270 redundancies - but Norfolk centres safe

PUBLISHED: 10:59 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:45 23 September 2020

The RSPCA's Norfolk Wildlife Centre at East Winch is not affected by redundancies and the closure of centres elsewhere  Picture: Ian Burt

The RSPCA's Norfolk Wildlife Centre at East Winch is not affected by redundancies and the closure of centres elsewhere Picture: Ian Burt

Norfolk’s much-loved wildlife hospital will not be affected by a shake-up which will see the RSPCA make 270 redundancies and close some of its animal shelters.

As well as seals, the centre cares for swans from across the region including those injured by discarded fishing tackle  Picture: Ian BurtAs well as seals, the centre cares for swans from across the region including those injured by discarded fishing tackle Picture: Ian Burt

The charity, which employs 1,600, said it would be closing Putney Animal Hospital and Southall Clinic in London and two rehoming centres, RSPCA Lockwood and South Godstone in Surrey.

But a spokesman said East Winch was not under threat or its Eau Brink rehoming centre, which is run by its local West Norfolk branch.

They added: “We’re predicting a £47m black hole in our finances over the next three years and the pandemic has made changes very urgent in order to protect our vital animal welfare activities for the future.

Seals are released to the wild after being cared for at East Winch  Picture: James BassSeals are released to the wild after being cared for at East Winch Picture: James Bass

“Unfortunately, these decisions have been made as part of a wider restructure looking at how we operate all of our services.

“Our spending was outstripping our income before Covid hit and the pandemic has made our financial situation much more challenging.”

The RSPCA says its free reserves have dipped to a level which amounts to less than six months’ operating funds. Its centres like East Winch cost £670,000 a year to run.

A swan is being cared for at East Winch after getting tangled in a  fishign lure Picture: RSPCAA swan is being cared for at East Winch after getting tangled in a fishign lure Picture: RSPCA

It comes as more than £1,000 has been donated to an online appeal to support East Winch’s work.

The centre is currently treating patients from as far afield as Leicestershire, where a swan lover paid £200 for a poorly bird to be examined by a vet, who diagnosed lead poisoning, before it was transferred to Norfolk.

Another swan from Sudbury in Suffolk is recovering from horrific injuries to its legs which it suffered after getting caught up in two treble hooks on a pike fishing lure.

The RSPCA has issued a warning of the dangers of fishing litter to wildlife after the incident  Picture: RSPCAThe RSPCA has issued a warning of the dangers of fishing litter to wildlife after the incident Picture: RSPCA

Manager Alison Charles said they were the worst she had ever seen.

The centre, which opened in 1992, is currently preparing for the winter when orphaned grey seal pups begin to be abandoned on the region’s beaches.


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