Whether you fancy becoming a Cat Cuddler, a Fosterer of Puppies, or a One Fun Day Volunteer (yes, those roles actually exist!), volunteering at the RSPCA can be incredibly rewarding.
The RSPCA currently has 2,316 national society volunteers and around 7,000 branch volunteers – that’s more than 9,000 people across England and Wales who give up their time for free to help animals in need.
As a charity, these volunteers are vital to ensure the RSPCA continues its varied work helping animals and that is why this Volunteers’ Week
(1-7 June), the RSPCA is shining a light on some of the volunteer roles available which some may not believe are real!
Cat CuddlerThis volunteering role
involves grooming and socialising a variety of cats in RSPCA care, each with their own unique temperament and character.
Having a snuggle, giving them chin rubs and brushing their coats, all helps to build their confidence before they are ready to be rehomed.
Fosterer of PuppiesFor this role
, volunteers will open up their homes and their hearts to puppies (and dogs) in need. Volunteers will provide all the care they need from feeding, exercising, cleaning, socialising and giving them medicine. Experience of caring for dogs is desirable, and volunteers should be available for a minimum of eight weeks at a time.
Kitten Hand RearerHand rearing newborn kittens who have lost their mum or been abandoned is a big commitment but an incredibly rewarding role
Volunteers will be required to feed young kittens, day and night and provide them with a safe environment away from any other pets. Feeding, playing and cuddling are necessary.
One Fun Day VolunteerA full day of fun is guaranteed at the One Fun Day
events taking place throughout the country in June. This is an opportunity for lots of branches and centres to host a fun day to raise money for animals in need in their area on 16 June.
This is the first time the RSPCA has held this event so the charity is looking for volunteers to help set up, marshal the car park or run a stall, as well as meeting the staff and animals at the RSPCA.
Micro-volunteering if you have five minutes to spare and want to do something good to help animals then micro-volunteering might be the way forward. The RSPCA is currently trying this out in Wales but the hope is that this will be rolled out to England too. This is a volunteer-lite role, that allows people to do bite-sized volunteering which may take five minutes every now and then, from signing a campaign, taking part in a bird count in their garden or sharing something on social media.
Jackie Johnstone, cattery volunteer at RSPCA Millbrook has been volunteering at the centre in Surrey for three years. Alongside the other volunteers, Jackie feeds the cats, cleans out the cat pods, plays with them, fosters cats at home and carries out home checks on potential adopters.
She said: “I love the flexibility of volunteering and it fits in with my other commitments. The biggest part of the job is helping with the day to day running of the cattery which we call ‘room service for cats’. The biggest challenge has got to be the emotional side, when I see a cat come into the centre in a very sorry state and you get them to trust the human race again, then it’s just so lovely to see them go off to their new homes. We all have such a giggle in the cattery, even though we’re working very hard!”
Justin Disdale, a former estate agent who volunteered as a wildlife casualty volunteer in the East region. He volunteered for more than a year with the RSPCA before deciding to work for the charity.
He said: “Before I became a volunteer I found an abandoned duckling, I popped it in a box and safely took it to the wildlife centre and whilst I was there I saw the wonderful job the staff do and it inspired me to want to become part of the team. It gives you the opportunity to get close to animals and birds you would rarely have seen before and provides you with a great knowledge about them too.”So far this year wildlife casualty volunteers have collected 500 animals. Part of these duties include transporting wild animals to centres from injured birds, badgers, bats, foxes and swans and then releasing them back into the wild once they are ready. Justin fell in love with his volunteering role so much, he decided to train to become an Animal Collection Officer with the RSPCA.
If any of these sound like your dream volunteer role, please visit the RSPCA website for further opportunities near you.