A Q&A with our New Chair

We have a brand new Chair of the Board of Trustees for our Branch.

The lovely Rebecca Furness, only joined our Branch in 2017 but her enthusiasm and passion for animals has already made such an impact on our team.

Plus her love of strategy and all things data have helped us work out where we see our branch going over the coming years.

Rebecca is really keen to on environmental issues including sustainability and recycling, and the impact that human activity can have on animals. 

Read on to find out all about our new chair: 

1.Why did you join the RSPCA Sunderland, Hartlepool and South Tyneside Branch?

I’ve always loved animals and when I decided I wanted to do some voluntary work the RSPCA seemed like to obvious place to look for vacancies. Sunderland, Hartlepool and South Tyneside were looking for trustees to help drive the Branch forward and I thought I could really help with that.

2. What skills/traits do you bring to the Branch and how does that help us progress?

Well first I bring a lot of passion for animals of all shapes and sizes which means I’m keen to make sure the Branch does all that it can to support animals in need in our area. I also bring business management skills which means that I’ve been able to support the Branch to consider how it operates and develop a 5 year strategy to clarify goals, and make more of an impact.

3. How does the branch help you adapt and learn new skills? 

I’m always learning something! Whether that’s about the branch, the RSPCA or how a small charity works. I’ve worked in not for profit organisations before but I’ve had to learn so much about all the aspects of managing a small charity already. Being a trustee is great for developing decision making, leadership, and team working skills.

4. What is your proudest moment since becoming part of the branch?

Well, being elected as Chair of the Board of Trustees was a really proud moment for me! I think that I was most proud when the Trustees created the Branch strategy, a piece of work I led on, it was great to see everyone enthusiastic and focused on the future.

5. What is your biggest wish for the Branch over the next few years?

I want the Branch to have a bigger presence across our area so that we can talk to more people about animal welfare and help more animals than ever before. If we could have our own animal centre for rehoming that would be a dream come true.

6. What is your favourite animal and why?

This is a tricky one to answer! I genuinely love all animals (except giant centipedes, sorry!) but I’d probably have to say…. Nope, I can’t choose. I love Pygmy goats, because they’re so cheeky and have great personalities, I love Armadillos and Pangolins because they’re amazingly unique, and I have a fondness for Ferrets because they’re great fun and really sweet!

7. You’ve got nothing planned this weekend, where in our Branch area would you like to spend it the most?

So many choices! I’d probably go down to the beach at say Roker or Seaham as I love the coast and it’s a treat to see doggies having a great time. Our coast is great for wildlife too so it’s great to keep you eyes out for Seals or Dolphins.

Or I’d get myself to the woods! I love the woods especially if I get to see a Nuthatch or there’s the possibility of a red squirrel!


Rebecca has already made a huge impact on our Branch, us and the animals are grateful and appreciate all she does for our area!

If you feel you could volunteer for RSPCA Sunderland, Hartlepool and South Tyneside then please get in touch enquiries@rspca-sunderland.org.uk


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