Coronavirus statement from Blue Cross Chief Executive, Chris Burghes
Hello, I’m Chris and I’m the new Chief Executive of Blue Cross.
The unprecedented challenges of the pandemic have demonstrated why the charity is so important. Pets play such an important role in our lives, especially in times of crisis and stress, but for many this is a difficult time to be a pet owner and why Blue Cross needs to be there with help and support.
We can’t offer this support without your support and, in my first month, I’ve been overwhelmed at the fantastic support we have been receiving from our supporters. What has stood out to me are the pledges of help from our local communities and donations from supporters at what is such a tough time. Thank you very much for this.
Although restrictions are easing in some parts of the country, my colleagues and I will continue to follow strict policies to ensure Blue Cross is playing its part in helping the UK through the pandemic, and my first priority is the safety of our teams at Blue Cross and of the pets we help.
Rehoming and behaviour
I am thrilled to tell you that we have found loving new families for 555 pets since we were able to begin rehoming again in April. Our rehoming centres remain closed to the public, but I’m really pleased we’ve been able to start admitting pets again. At the moment we are limiting the numbers due to the strict safety measures we’re following, but we’re delighted to be able to help more homeless pets in need again.
We continue to be able to rehome some pets and are doing so following strict social distancing measures, so please do visit our rehoming pages if you are looking for a new addition to the family.
If you need to speak with someone for advice about how to maintain the welfare of your pet during these difficult times please give us a call.
We have put in place temporary measures for some of our services while ensuring that we continue to provide emergency patient consultations at our veterinary hospitals in London and Grimsby. Our mobile service is also suspended. Our animal hospitals have been able to carry out 80 per cent of our consultations by phone or video call. Feedback from clients is that these are working well so we are looking at how we can continue making them a part of our ongoing service.
We do have a backlog of surgeries that have been delayed due to the Covid-19 restrictions (over 300 in London alone) as well as pets who need seeing for ongoing and less urgent conditions. It is also very important to get more pets vaccinated as soon as possible to help prevent an animal disease outbreak in the coming months ahead. Many puppies and kittens have not been able to have their first vaccinations during lockdown and boosters for adult pets have been delayed.
Our dedicated staff have worked tirelessly to make sure we stay open, often working 12-hour shifts and late into the night, and we’ve had fantastic support from our volunteers. Ensuring we help as many pets as possible during these ongoing uncertain times remains our priority.
Check our veterinary pages for the latest information including details of the service, contact details and opening times.
Although some children are gradually going back to school, the ongoing restrictions mean our Education Team can’t visit in-person at the moment, but demand for our virtual talks is increasing. Hundreds of teachers and youth group leaders have been in touch with us about live online classes, and this month we’ve also put free, fun activities for families on our website.
As always, our Pet Bereavement Support Service remains an essential helpline to all those facing losing a pet. Our team is home based and this service has continued to run throughout this time of uncertainty. With pets becoming ever more our constant companions during the lockdown period, the pandemic has made losing them all the more difficult to bear, and our helpline more vital than ever. It’s free and confidential, and I’d encourage anyone who needs a listening ear to get in touch with our wonderful and kind team.
Charity shops and Ebay
With lockdown restrictions easing, this week we were able to reopen the first of our charity shops, with a further 19 due to reopen on or before 6 July, another 21 on or before 13 July, and the remainder by the end of the month. Check our website for details on your nearest shop.
At this time, we may be unable to accept donations to our charity shops if we become full, because we’re required to quarantine stock for 72 hours before it is safe to sell it. May I ask you to please bear with us as we reopen and be patient with our shop teams. We are incredibly grateful for your donations and can’t wait to welcome you back, but please don’t be offended if we ask you to hold on to your clear out clothes and goods for a little while longer until we’re in a position to be able to gratefully accept them safely.
Our Ebay store continues to remain open.
Support, information and donations
There are still lots of ways you can show support for our pets. We’re updating our website with the latest advice and information to help owners care for their pets while restrictions are ongoing, and you can sign up for Covid-19 email updates. Do keep an eye on our social media channels as we are sharing advice there too.
If you are able to help with a donation, it would be particularly appreciated at this time. The best way to do this is via our website rather than by phone.
Thank you for continuing to support Blue Cross. As someone whose family includes a cat and guinea pig, I’m well aware of the comfort our pets give us. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have perhaps given your pets even more fuss recently as a thank you for being there. I am proud to have joined a charity with a real passion for the pets and people we help, and wish you well at this time.
Blue Cross Chief Executive