Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s volunteering programme was awarded the UK quality standard accreditation status for a second time this January.
The charity, that supports vulnerable cats and dogs, first received the Investing in Volunteers (IiV) Award in 2018 and said they were just as elated this time around.
IiV recognises excellent volunteer management and when organisations provide an outstanding volunteer experience.
Charlotte Fielder, head of volunteering, fostering and communities for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home said: “Volunteering is the golden thread that runs through Battersea.
“Battersea as an organisation recognises volunteer involvement as essential to our strategic aims and to providing the highest standards in animal welfare.”
According to a recent survey by Battersea, 96% of volunteers said they were happy with their volunteering experience and over 10% of staff are former volunteers.
Fielder said: “Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds with an array of life experiences and what unites them is the desire to be here for dogs and cats.”
Roles vary from providing hands-on care at the centres, in homes, office support, community event work and looking after the gardens.
The charity had to reduce the number of staff and volunteers on site due to the pandemic, with only a small number of people allowed at their main centre in south west London.
More animals had to be put in foster care and with their rehoming ‘communities’ in Guildford, Ashford and Kent.
Despite pandemic restrictions, in 2020, 947 Battersea volunteers, foster carers, and communities volunteers donated 78,461 hours of their time to the charity.
Community rehoming volunteer, Neil Dunstan said: “The role of community rehoming volunteer provided an opportunity for us to help a number of dogs, without having to commit to long-term ownership.
“It’s been great to feel part of a united team of staff and volunteers.”
Asked by IiV about the notable impact the award process had on their service users, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home told them: “Our service users are our dogs and cats. I asked a few and the response is ‘woof’ & meow’.”
The charity experienced an increase in volunteering enquiries since the pandemic, due to many people on furlough or working from home with time to give.
However they have been unable to recruit additional volunteers during lockdown.
You can also read about how the home is fundraising through the app Pet Rescue Saga here.
Photo credits to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home