The Scottish SPCA and Blue Cross will work in partnership on new projects to reach more people who need help looking after their pets.
The animal welfare charities believe they can achieve more by pooling knowledge, as the impact of Covid-19 forces them to stretch resources and finances further.
Last year the Blue Cross announced a plan to work more closely with the RSPCA, which operates in England and Wales.
In reviewing the areas where the charities provide help to pets and people, the Scottish SPCA and Blue Cross aim to see where they can complement each other to extend reach.
One key area of focus will be connecting their fostering network to enable more pets across borders to benefit from both the organisations’ resources and welfare expertise.
Other areas for consideration by the partnership in future include behavioural consultation advice from the Blue Cross, which has an expert team working with dogs, cats, small animals and horses.
They have launched a joint research study with the University of Edinburgh to identify ways to reach people living with pets in hard-to-reach, minority or vulnerable communities.
The two charities intend to take a user-centred approach to find effective ways to help pet owners who are unable to access animal welfare services such as veterinary care, or people who may be struggling financially.
It is hoped the research project is the first step of a partnership which will allow both charities to share best practice, their specialist expertise and unique services to best serve pets and people.
The Scottish SPCA has nine animal rescue and rehoming centres across Scotland and a National Wildlife Rescue Centre. It is the only animal welfare charity in the UK with the power to report people to the Crown Office for animal cruelty offences.
Blue Cross has a Pet Bereavement Support Service, political outreach and educational work. In recent years, both organisations have successfully campaigned for improvements to animal welfare legislation in Scotland and highlighted the illicit puppy trade to Holyrood.
Chris Burghes, chief executive at the Blue Cross, said: “Blue Cross firmly believes that partnerships are the future of charity working to ensure we can truly deliver on our aims to help the increasing numbers of pets and people in need who seek our help. By collaborating and combining services we can reach many more people in crisis who, through no fault of their own, need support in ensuring their companions are healthy and happy.
“One long-term goal at Blue Cross is to ensure we can help those most in need and as we plan to expand our services across the UK, we very much look forward to working with the Scottish SPCA to help more people in Scotland and their pets.”
Scottish SPCA chief executive, Kirsteen Campbell said: “Since the coronavirus pandemic started, the Scottish SPCA has continued to do a fantastic job delivering our vital services to support animals and people in every community in Scotland who have needed us more than ever. And we’ve achieved this alongside influencing changes in legislation that will transform the lives of animals and people forever.
“We believe it has never been more important for charities to work in partnership, achieving even more together and having an even greater impact on animal welfare. There’s so much shared DNA between Blue Cross and the Scottish SPCA and we have a fantastic opportunity here to make best use of our collective expertise, be ambitious and make a difference to the lives of people and their pets across Scotland.”
It might seem counterintuitive, but working with your closest competitors offers opportunities, writes Stephen Cotterill.