AGM: Year 10 Report

May 21, 2024 | Latest News, AGM

‘Give a Dog a Bone… and an animal a home’ was granted ​charitable status in November 2013.

The aim of the charity is to tackle loneliness for older adults via animal companionship.

We operate two main projects in order to achieve this aim:

​The first is our original, long standing, project where we support the over 60s to afford a rescue pet companion – it’s a WIN/WIN – the person gets a friend, and the animal gets a home!

The second project was launched in January 2018, called ‘Companionship in the Community’ – a community-based project, providing a safe space for older adults to make new friends, learn new skills and mix with dogs!

Project number 1 allows older adults, who would love an animal companion – but are worried about the costs involved – financial assistance to adopt a pet.

Project number 2 recognises that many older adults love animals but, for whatever reason, do not (or cannot) have their own pet. Our Community Space project offers the opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills and mix with our special team of Companionship Dogs – without the pressure of taking a dog home!

Over the years we have helped thousands of older adults to have a more engaged existence with both peers and animals alike and have won several awards for our unique charitable offering.

The following statement is based on our 10th financial year to date, commencing 01 December 2022 and ending 30 November 2023.

Year 10’s Annual General Meeting Statement

 Give a Dog a Bone’s Year 10 commenced on the 1st December 2022.   

We entered into our 10th financial year, having made a loss in Year 9.

This was not a concern or a surprise as, having received COVID financial assistance in Years 7 and 8 – Year 9 was always going to deliver a dose of reality.  

As we close Year 10th, the Trustees are pleased to report a profitable year with an income of (approx.) £318,000 and an expenditure of (approx.) £300,000.

The majority of our income was made up from successful grant applications (167k) and fundraising activities (112k), with a smaller proportion from donations (39k).

We are pleased, once again, to see Fundraising income at over 100k per annum – with Just Giving donations the highest they have ever been (17k) as more people identify Give a Dog a Bone as a charity they would like to support.

Give a Dog a Bone is built on Fundraising and we are pleased to see this income continue to grow.

Over recent years, we have identified multi-year funding as a key part of our sustainability strategy and Year 10 was successful in this area with several large grant funds from key players such as The Lottery, Pets at Home, Garfield Weston and RS MacDonald.  Overall, we generated almost £40,000 more from grant applications in Year 10, compared with the year before.

Our original project of supporting older adults to afford a rescue pet remains steady and we have almost 60 individuals who rely on our support, each month, to feed and/or insure their pet companion.  The spend on this project in Year 10 was circa 25k, without any staff time or resources allocated to it.

Quote from an beneficiary on our monthly financial support scheme:

“The support we get from you allows us to keep our dogs.  Without it we couldn’t afford them. 

We struggle on our pension with cost of food vet bills are so high.

Our rescue dogs give us company and reason to get up each day. Really so grateful – it really has made such a difference to us.”

Our Companionship in the Community project continues to be the larger of the two projects.

In Year 10 we had an overall footfall of over 16,000 across our three locations – an increase of 3,500 in the previous year!  We recognise that the cost of living crisis may have impacted these numbers as more people come to us for a hot drink and a warm space.

We are opened 5 days per week in each community, with a total of 71 hours per week. 

As well as our daily ‘tea & chat’ service, which is available to all ages – we also provide a range of free activities to the over 60s – allowing them to meet new people and try new things.

We do not charge for any aspect of our community work – tea/coffee/biscuits are free to anyone – of any age – and activities are free to the over 60s if they sign up to become a GADAB Charity Friend.

We are proud to note that each space has a core of regular, older adult, visitors who visit several times per week and who, without GADAB, would struggle to find connections within their community.

In Year 10, we had hoped to upgrade/upscale our Shawlands community space offering.  This was our first ‘pilot’ community space project and is much smaller than the other two locations – which can prove difficult at times and limits the number of both humans and canines we can host at any one time.

This has not been achieved as we have struggled to secure a unit in the same location, which fits our criteria in terms of size, cost and location.

Location is a very important factor, as we have many older adults who rely on the GADAB service and – if we were to relocate – they would miss their regular visits.

The upscaling is desirable rather than essential and we are still very much on the lookout for suitable premises.

Quote from an older adult service user on our Community Space project:

“This charity has changed my life.  I have met people from my community that I would not have met.   My outlook on life has changed.  These people are fabulous.  No-one judges you and they do not ask questions.  I love the camaraderie and admire all of them.”

 

In Year 10, we launched a new partnership with ‘FareShare Glasgow and the West of Scotland’.  FareShare are part of the MoveOn group who are the longest running food redistribution charity in the UK.  GADAB is now their main distributor of excess pet food in Glasgow and the West of Scotland. 

We use this food to top up our Pet Food Banks, as well as support small, lesser known, animal charities who may not get the support of the general public.  In Year 10, together, we have been able to support several cat and dog charities with pet food, so they can redirect the savings made to other essential areas.

Main Challenge in Year 10:        

We are a very lean team – 9 part time members of staff, equivalent to 5.5 FT, running a BIG service.  In the last quarter of 2023, we had one member of the team hand in her notice to take up another role and another off for several months – this put huge pressure on our already stretched team. 

We have now promoted one member of staff, hired another to take her place and the person who was off has now returned to work. 

Main Successes in Year 10:

We reached our 10th birthday!  A true milestone, which our older adult beneficiaries helped us celebrate!

We signed up to become a Real Living Wage Employer

Our Founder, Louise Russell, was awarded the British Empire Medal

A profitable year, with footfall across the charity increasing from 12,500 (2022) to over 16,000 (2023)

Continued improvement of processes and service offering

Secured multi-year funding from various sources, which is key to sustainability

Good, strong, capable team of staff and volunteers in place.

We will leave you with our Team Values, which we identified over the past year:

Our Values

 

We act with compassion for animals and older adults. Compassion in action is at the heart of what we do.

 

We are trusted by the individuals and organisations who fund us, as well as by those we support.

 

We respect, and are respected by, local communities and individuals within those communities.

 

We are recognised for our kindness. Kindness is our calling card!

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