Urgent appeal for volunteers as Lincoln RSPCA shop risks closure

A Lincoln RSPCA shop is appealing for new volunteers to save it from closure in the coming months.

The RSPCA Lincolnshire Mid and Lincoln branch runs three shops in the county – two in Lincoln on St Mark’s Street and Woodhall Drive and another on Station Road in Woodhall Spa. The branch itself is run by a board of trustees known as the committee.

The RSPCA charity shop and office building on St Mark’s Street was originally a church hall and Sunday school built for St Mark’s Church in 1875. The RSPCA has owned the building since the 1960s and around nine years ago it was given a revamp to look how it does today.

Chair for the RSPCA Lincolnshire Mid & Lincoln branch Amy Farrell with shop volunteers Donna Rutley and Angela Robinson. Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

Shop volunteer Sue Smith’s pet dog Cassie. Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

The shop is open Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 4.30pm. It has one paid member of staff who works every day and six volunteers, but more are needed to keep the shop open.

The shop sells second hand items such as clothing, DVDs, books, furniture and ornaments. The St Mark’s shop in particular also sells dog, cat and rabbit food and animal feed and products.

Chair for the RSPCA Lincolnshire Mid & Lincoln branch Amy Farrell outside the St Mark’s shop. Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

Chair for the RSPCA Lincolnshire Mid & Lincoln branch Amy Farrell told The Lincolnite that the committee will have to have a conversation in the next month or two about whether or not the St Mark’s shop can physically remain open.

She said: “We are struggling to stay open because we’ve not got enough volunteers to come in and man the shop. Due to the proximity of where we are in terms of the High Street we always have to have two people in the shop at all times for health and safety purposes and it’s not been possible to find two people that can be here Monday to Saturday all the time.

“Staff are having to get family members to try and come in last minute when someone can’t make it or on occasion having to shut completely, meaning a loss of takings.

Inside the shop. Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

Second hand clothing is just one of the items sold in the shop. Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

“It is at risk of closure, if not completely then it would have to shut probably about three days of the week.

“Whilst we do have fundraising events the steady income is from our three charity shops. Without the income from those shops we’re obviously not bringing in enough money which is impacting how much we can help the animals in our care.”

Shop Manger Angela Robinson volunteered for 6 years before taking on her current role. Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

Anyone over 16 interested in volunteering should contact the branch by popping in or calling 01522 544862 for an application. No experience is needed and full training will be given to any successful applicants.

Amy added: “We have some fantastic volunteers. This shop is one of three exceptional cogs in the wheel of the RSPCA Lincolnshire Mid and Lincoln Branch. If we don’t have one of them we really would struggle, the impact would be quite severe.”

During The Lincolnite’s visit a customer’s dog called Lilley posed for a picture. Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

In 2018 the Lincolnshire branch rehomed 257 animals including 32 dogs, 153 cats, 27 rabbits and 45 guinea pigs.

Freda, now called Luna, was rehomed in 2018 after she came in and gave birth to kittens, who were also rehomed.

Sophie was rehomed in 2018.