The Blue Cross has unveiled a new three-year strategy and aims to significantly expand its digital offer to reach more pets in need.
The charity says pet owners are increasingly seeking advice and help in a new digital environment, so the new three-year strategy will immediately focus on digital growth and affordable vet care.
At present 13% of the charity’s current rehoming work is through Homes Direct, where pets go directly from a previous to new owner without coming into a Blue Cross facility, the goal is to have 60% through Homes Direct and foster care by 2023.
During Covid-19 the charity launched an emergency helpline for those struggling with behavioural challenges with the pets in their homes. The aim by 2023 is to significantly expand their virtual consultations.
Further strategic goals
The charity says it will have a national physical and digital rehoming and support presence across all four countries of the UK.
Blue Cross plans to open new rehoming centres in Northern Ireland and Scotland. It currently has 11 rehoming and behaviour centres in the UK and four veterinary hospitals located in London and Grimsby to provide low-cost vet care to those on means-tested benefits.
It also plans to speak up more. “Blue Cross will strengthen their voice publicly and politically to achieve positive societal change for pets. This will not solely be focussed on animal welfare but also seek to embed a cultural shift in awareness on the multiple benefits of sharing our lives with pets,” its statement reads.
The charity will also ensure inclusivity, diversity and equality are core values of the charity and embedded in all services they deliver in being able to reach, communicate and support all of those in need.
Where challenges from the pandemic have affected the charity, and pet sector significantly, Blue Cross will seek to provide support in the anticipated welfare and financial crisis.
It wants to enable financially sustainable growth and scale, and balance the budget in 2022, so it is able to invest in the charity's core services.
The charity has not reduced its service capacity and moving forward and will still provide all its extended programmes, such as the Pet Bereavement Support Service and Educational outreach, working with its 4,000 volunteers.
‘We don’t need to revolutionise... but we will look to evolve’
Chris Burghes, chief executive at Blue Cross, said: “Blue Cross has been in operation for nearly 125 years helping pets in need. We don’t need to revolutionise our purpose as our core mission remains the same, but we will look to evolve how we do this to address the needs of today’s society. We will ensure our presence is there either physically or digitally for those in crisis, those who already share their lives with animals or those who wish to welcome a pet into their family.”
“Where there is a pet there is a person. In the majority of cases where we are helping one, we are intrinsically helping the other. This holistic approach is where I truly believe we will achieve significant long-lasting societal change for animals and their people with our charity work. Even in these uniquely challenging times, I can see real inspiration and exciting possibilities for the future and what we can deliver over the next three years.”