AGM: Year 9 Report

Mar 9, 2023 | 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 9th financial year to date, commencing 01 December 2021 and ending 30 November 2022.

Year 9’s Annual General Meeting Statement

Give a Dog a Bone’s Year 9 commenced on the 1st December 2021.

The UK was moving out of pandemic mode and back to normality. Despite Year 8 having been our most successful financial year to date, we knew Year 9 would deliver a dose of reality.

In both 2020 and 2021, we were in receipt of various Government COVID grants, as a result of having to close the doors on our three community spaces.

Whilst this was most welcome at the time and, without a doubt, allowed us to open back up normally, as soon as it was safe to do so… it also meant that our financial figures in those previous years were not a true reflection of a standard financial year at GADAB.

Not only that, but we had opened our third community space just 12 working days before the pandemic hit the UK – therefore, Year 9 would be the first ‘real’ year of our new, increased, operational costs.

So, at the end of Year 9 (Nov 2022), we can report that we made a loss of approximately 40k.

In our 9 years of trading, this is the second time we have reported a loss. The Trustees have discussed, at length, and are not unduly worried or concerned, as it is not unusual for a charity to have occasional loss-making years, especially in times of growth.

Despite the loss, we are proud to have secured an income of £272,000 in our 9th year as a charity.

This sum is a result of our continued support from our online followers taking part in community fundraisers, donations in community spaces and – largely – successful grant applications.

In year 9, our unique mission won support from many grants funders, ranging from £1,000 to £30,000. The introduction of a part time fundraiser, really helped us to hone our ‘ask’ and improve our application submissions.

With a background in drama, our fundraiser also helped us to launch our first ever Christmas advert in 2021, which reached over 1 million people via FB. All in all – this was a great piece of PR and, we believe, brought us to the attention of more Corporate supporters in 2022.

In 2022, we had the opportunity to expand into the 3rd floor of our existing building in Alloa when the existing tenants moved out. This allowed us a dedicated activity space – something that we do not have in either Glasgow or Troon.  With a move towards extra activities and an increase in footfall, Alloa increased its opening hours by an additional day.

In total, this means that – across all three spaces – Give a Dog a Bone is opened to the public 75 hours per week. In Year 9, we had an astounding 12.5 thousand visits through our doors! This number is mostly made up of those who rely on our service and who visit several times per week – either for our tea and chat service or to take part in an activity.

With more free activities on offer, this year, we had a record number of participation on our in-person activities with almost 2000 places taken up by older adults on programmes such as Mindfulness; Creative Writing; Art Club; Group Dog Walks, Seated Yoga and Singing for Wellbeing.

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.

Not charging enables accessibility to older adults from all financial backgrounds – often allowing them to take part in a regular activity they might not otherwise be able to afford. Those who can afford, and who wish to leave a donation, are able to do so.

As the cost of living crisis continues, we anticipate more and more people turning to GADAB for basics, such as a warm space and a hot drink.

Our community spaces are not income generating and so we must always look for new ways to raise funds, in order to keep our doors opened.

In Year 9 we have embraced a model of moving towards each community space being funded in its own right via local donations and grant funding. Each GADAB community space costs approximately 40k, per year, to run. In Year 9, we made positive strides towards making this model a reality.

The Board also made the decision, in Year 9, not to expand into new areas (for now) but to improve and consolidate the existing community spaces that we have already.

In other good news, this year, our Founder was awarded the Pride of Scotland Award for Community, sponsored by TSB. This was a very positive piece of PR, with the awards being broadcast on TV, across Scotland – it also resulted in a £10,000 donation from TSB towards our Animal Welfare Project. Just a few months later, Louise was also presented with Special Recognition at the People’s Pets Awards in London – bringing the Give a Dog a Bone concept to a whole new audience.

In the background, our Animal Welfare project continues to run, however, is a small project compared to the larger Community Space project in terms of scale, resource and reach.

We currently support 60+ households per month to feed and/or insure their pet each month, often meaning the difference between an older adult keeping their pet or handing into shelter.

We also offer support towards rehoming fees and have Pet Food Banks at each of our three community spaces. Anyone, of any age, is welcome to access our Pet Food Banks, if they need to do so.

This project currently costs approximately 25k per annum and, with no staff or overhead costs allocated to it, we expect it to remain the smaller project of the two – going forward.

Main Challenges in Year 9:

Finances (loss making year) and Resource (small team delivering BIG service)

Key Highlights in Year 9:

Strong team ethic, some great PR, success with grant applications

We will leave you with a quote from Barbara, aged 78:

“I would miss GADAB dreadfully if it wasn’t here – it’s the one place I know I will get both human and dog company.

I really look forward to coming here – it stops me from staying home alone and gives me a reason to get out and talk to people.

I would say it’s my favourite place to come but, actually, it’s my only place to come.

Coming to GADAB lightens my mood and makes me feel better in myself.”

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