The Scottish SPCA (SSPCA) and Blue Cross 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.
Together, 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.
The charities suggested that through this new partnership they hoped the research project would allow both charities to share best practice, their specialist expertise and unique services to best serve pets and people.
SSPCA has nine animal rescue and rehoming centres across Scotland and a National Wildlife Rescue Centre. Blue Cross has presence with their Pet Bereavement Support Service, political outreach and educational work.
In recent years, both organisations have campaigned for improvements to animal welfare legislation in Scotland and highlighted the illicit puppy trade to Holyrood. With the impact of Covid-19 stretching resources and finances further, both charities said they believe they can achieve more by “pooling knowledge”, however.
In reviewing the areas where the charities provide help to pets and people, the SSPCA and Blue Cross will be able to see where they can “complement each other” to extend reach to those in need.
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.
Chris Burghes, CEO, Blue Cross, said: “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.”
Kirsteen Campbell, chief executive, Scottish SPCA, added: “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.
“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.”