Hundreds of animals rehomed at RSPCA South London branch in 46 year history


As the RSPCA marks its 200th anniversary, the South London branch is marking 46 years of helping animals with a behind-the-scenes look at some amazing achievements thanks to
dedicated staff and volunteers.

The world’s oldest animal welfare charity was formed 200 years ago this year after a small
group of people met in a coffee shop determined to change animals’ lives and launched the
SPCA on 16 June 1824. The charity was later given Royal patronage by Queen Victoria and
became the RSPCA in 1840.

These 22 determined members – including MPs anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce,
Richard Martin as well as London vicar Arthur Broome – created an organisation that
sparked a movement that spread around the world.

In Crystal Palace, back in 1879, local like-minded people came together to start raising money for animal welfare in the area. The first mention of an official branch in the area, from RSPCA archives, was back in 1890 and the South London branch was formed 46 years ago.

Since then, the South London branch, now based in Addiscombe, Croydon, has gone from strength to strength and in the last decade it has rehomed 558 cats, dogs and small furries.

The boarding establishments and foster network currently have 20 spaces for cats. Often
animals that come into the branch care have endured horrendous suffering and neglect.

The work is funded by three charity shops and relies on the generous donations from members of the public and also dedicated volunteers whose help is invaluable.

To mark its amazing history Branch Manager Jacqui Jackson has shared some of the
achievements of the branch and some of the people who help support animals and people in
the local community.

Meet some of our amazing volunteers

From cat cuddlers, to delivery drivers and fundraisers – we rely so heavily on volunteers to
help us continue our life-saving work. Suzanne Nagle is among members of the team who love to help out.

She said: “I love volunteering for the very active South London branch. I mainly do fundraising collections and knowing that I’m collecting money for the branch to use locally for the welfare of animals that need our support, is very rewarding. Being a volunteer gives me the opportunity to engage with like minded people and explaining to the general public what a local branch of the RSPCA does is very satisfying.”

Look at these amazing transformations of neglected animals who are now loving pets!

Benny came into the branch care in November 2023 in a very sorry state. He needed a
heart scan, had to have eye surgery on an entropion eyelid and needed lots of dental work after years of neglect. His coat was also in a bad condition due to nutritional issues after improper care. He was with the branch for nearly four months, while he underwent treatment, and learned how to trust humans again. He was adopted in March 2024 and looks a different and much happier boy!

Check out our charity shops

The local charity shops play an important part in providing financial income for the South London Branch to assist with the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of animals within the area. There are many roles to suit a variety of skills and abilities including merchandising, customer service to name but a few – and there are shops at Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon, Westow Street, Crystal Palace, and Upper Tooting Road, Tooting. All shops would also welcome donations of goods which they can sell.

Shop volunteer Bev Rowland said: “I’ve been working in the shop for 12 years alongside shop manager Julie. I have always enjoyed working here. I’ve met some lovely people. During my time here I’ve also done home visiting which I loved. Volunteering has helped build my confidence and helped with my mental health as it gives me a purpose. I’m privileged to work with a great manager and fellow volunteers.’ Pictured right is Rosie Moss and Bev who have been with the shop since it opened in 2012

Meet some wonderful foster carers

Fosterers provide temporary sanctuary to animals who aren’t quite ready to be rehomed,
such as those recovering from surgery, mums-to-be, orphaned youngsters or hand-rears,
and those who are involved in ongoing investigations and can’t be rehomed until the
conclusion of the case.

Moving animals into home environments can help them have a faster recovery or prepare
them for life in their forever home once they are adopted. It also helps to free up space in
boarding establishments for other animals who may need help.

Meet foster carer Priya Ramen who has been helping us prepare pets for their pawfect home.

Priya said: “I love cats and am very amused by them! I started fostering as it felt like a win-win situation of giving a safe space to a cat in need and at the same time having another furry feline around the house. Apart from the pure joy of pampering the fosters and getting them ready for their fur-ever home, one of the best things about fostering is that I get to meet lovely people who unconditionally give the cats a second chance. I’ve mostly had senior cats with permanent health conditions and they’ve been adopted with such love – it’s heartwarming.”

Look at some of our special moments –
Towards the end of 2023, a member of the public got in touch about local strays they’d been feeding in Thornton Heath, however the numbers were starting to get out of hand.

An RSPCA rescuer attended and upon seeing that the living conditions were suitable, and local residents were happy to continue to feed and look out for the feral cats, we began a trap, neuter, release programme with the cats – around 20! Through collaboration with the local residents, the use of larger traps, and lots of time and effort, we have so far managed to trap, neuter and release 12 cats, with the work continuing into 2024.

Persephone, who came into us in the early winter of 2023, was a real rollercoaster of a case, and a great example of our collaborative work with the RSPCA Inspectors, and
eventually the Branch network. Persephone was rescued from a balcony by local Inspectors and the Fire Brigade after the owner refused to let her back in after deciding she no longer wanted her. After the successful rescue, she was signed over to us and taken to our vets. The vets diagnosed pyometra which if left untreated can prove to be fatal. Persephone was spayed and saved. After this, she was moved to a foster home so we could learn more about her personality to find her the perfect forever home. However within a few weeks Persephone started drinking and urinating a lot more frequently, and upon further vet checks, our fears of diabetes were confirmed. The next few weeks were filled with vet appointments and injections to try and get Persephone’s insulin levels right. Our foster carers did a fantastic job of caring for her during this time. We were very lucky that Persephone loves her food, and so injecting her at meal times was quick and easy as she was distracted!

Once Persephone was stable again, we then faced the difficult task of finding the
right home for her. It took several months of searching and advertising, but we were lucky enough to find a lady who had experience of diabetic cats and wanted another cat to care for. We then liaised with her local branch to look for suitable charity vets who would be able to help keep the treatment costs down. We managed to get an agreement with a vet not too far and were able to go ahead with the adoption. Persephone has been in her new home since November 2023 and is happy and healthy and a testament to all the RSPCA workers and volunteers who made this happen.

Not everything is plain-sailing though..

Back in October of 2023, we took in a young black stray female along with her 4 kittens after they were found abandoned. After some decent food and flea and worming treatment, they were on the mend and the kittens were soon adopted. However, mum, Beauty, had
more adventures in mind. When the foster carer was taking her to the vets for her post spay check up, Beauty managed to escape from her carrier and made a break for it. Luckily, she was already microchipped and spayed, and she was in her bright, stripey, post surgery suit so we didn’t think it would be hard to track her down. But days turned into weeks, and still no sign of her. Nearly 4 months later, we got a call from a vet in Islington, around 15 miles from us, saying they had her! She’d turned up in the area and a lady had fallen in love with her and taken her in. She took her to the vets for a check up and they found her chip. We adopted her out to her finder and they are very happy together. Beauty hasn’t tried to escape since!

Our plans for the future

We are currently recruiting for a specialist fundraising trustee who can help us engage with
corporate fundraising. We are also merging with the Purley branch and will hopefully expand
our network of fundraisers and fosterers, and eventually plan to open another charity shop in
the new area.

Jacqui Jackson, Branch Manager manager said: “For almost two centuries, the RSPCA has
been changing minds, laws, industries and lives to create a better world for animals and
people alike. We have come a long way in 200 years but there is still so much more to do.

“Here in South London we have achieved so much in our 46 year history and we are still
here to help animals in need and their owners who need us more than ever due to the
cost of living crisis.

“The RSPCA is getting more calls about abandoned animals, neglect is on the rise,
rehoming has been declining sharply – meaning thousands fewer rescue pets are being
adopted – but more animals are coming into our care.

“At the same time while caring for the animals we are faced with increased bills and less
donations due to the financially difficult economic climate.

“But together we can help animals and everyone can do their bit from donating funds to our
cause, volunteering or even dropping goods off at our charity shops.

“We would also ask people to really consider rehoming a pet rather than buying one –
together we can make the world a better place for animals.”

As the RSPCA celebrates its 200th year of changing industries, laws, minds, and animals lives the animal welfare charity wants to inspire one million people to join our movement to
improve animals; lives. Together, there are actions, big and small, we can take to create a
better world for every animal.

To find out how you can join our million-strong movement for animals visit

The South London branch is part of the RSPCA family but is funded independently and relies on public support. Please visit our website for more information:

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