After only being a Trustee since March 2018, Beth Cronin and her passion for all things animals has already made strides within our Branch and has become our Branch Secretary.
1. Why did you join the RSPCA Sunderland, Hartlepool and South Tyneside branch?
I am, and have always been, a big animal person and very passionate about animal welfare – I can remember going out to find injured wild rabbits and bringing them back for a stay in a warm box in the shed when I was no more than 8 years old! Like many people, I didn’t realise that the structure of the RSPCA is broken down into individual branches that govern themselves – once I found out there was a local branch to me, I was much more interested in being able to contribute to animal welfare on a local level.
2. What skills/traits do you bring to the Branch and how does that help us progress?
I work in marketing and so I am trying to bring in processes and strategies to help the Branch raise our profile, which could be anything from large events to coffee mornings, annual reports and brochures to social media posts. We need to raise awareness of our Branch and the work that we do so that more people understand that we are a separate entity helping animals in their community.
3.How does the Branch help you adapt and learn new skills?
Being a trustee has already helped me understand a massive amount of information about how a charity is run, as well as best practice in doing so. I really enjoy being part of an equal team, where each trustee brings to the table skills and experience that can help us operate as a group.
4. What is your proudest moment since becoming part of the Branch?
After my first AGM, I was nominated to be the Branch’s Secretary for 2018-19, which I didn’t expect as I’d only been a trustee for around 7 months at this point! I am just one of a few newer trustees we have at our Branch, and we’re really enjoying getting our teeth into making Sunderland, Hartlepool and South Tyneside the best Branch it can be.
5. What is your biggest wish for the Branch over the next few years?
My biggest wish for our Branch is basically what we’ve outlined recently in our strategy and planning: we want to be a model Branch, that other Branches can look up to and take a lead from. That involves a lot of work in many areas of operation, but with our new trusteeship skills, experience and strategic planning, I feel confident that we can make some great progress with the path that we are carving!
6. What is your favourite animal and why?
It’s fair to say I love most animals – I have a cat, Suki, I do have a soft spot for sloths after seeing them up close on my recent trip to Costa Rica, but my life-long favourite animal is man’s best friend – dogs! We had a golden retriever growing up – the dopiest, softest, fluffiest thing you’ve ever met and from then on I’ve gone out of my way to meet any dogs I see out and about!
7. You’ve got nothing planned this weekend, where in our Branch area would you like to spend it the most?
I love a good walk on the beach, and we have plenty of coastline in our Branch area to choose from!
8. What is your view on animal welfare? How would you explain that to someone?
I think this can be a grey area and a bit controversial for some people. For me, animal welfare is a spectrum – it’s not just the severe cases that people hear about in the media where our Society’s inspectorate has to step in and remove animals from places for their own good, it also includes educating people in taking care of their domestic pets as well, because in ignorance about animal care can sometimes stem welfare problems.
9. Would you recommend volunteering for our Branch and why?
I would definitely recommend volunteering for our Branch – we’ve got many different roles that you can get involved in! Obviously what binds us is a passion for animal welfare, but you could volunteer for us doing a range of things – working in the shop, helping sell things on ebay, fundraising… and more! Whether you’re a student looking to improve skills and add to your CV or you just want a part time job to meet new people, ask us for more information and don’t just take it from me, speak to our current volunteers!
10. Are you a member and what are the benefits of being a member?
I am a member, and the big benefit of being a member of our Branch is that your membership money goes directly to supporting us on a local level, so you know that your money is going towards animal welfare in your communities.
11. What is your vision for animal welfare within our area?
We have plans for our Branch to introduce an educational programme to start raising awareness of how to care for and handle animals responsibly from an earlier age, improve promotion of the welfare that we conduct as a Branch so that the public becomes more aware of how we can help them as well as considering outreach projects to bring welfare to our communities.
12. If you had £1 million where would you invest it within our branch?
The one thing I would really love for our Branch is some capacity to re-home animals – as we are not an Animal Centre, we don’t directly re-home animals other than our partnership project with other Branches on our Cat Rehoming Hub. If I had a million pounds, I’d invest in some facilities for us to be able to house and re-home animals.
If you, like Beth, have the time, skills and passion to even spend an hour volunteering with us then please get in touch!