THESE RSPCA staff and their four-legged friends are gearing up to put their best feet – or paws – forward.
Four workers from the Longview Animal Centre, a charity shop manager and five volunteers, will be walking the 11 miles from the centre to the site of the new headquarters at Old Toms Lane Stalmine, on May 6.
They are raising money for the new centre, which will replace ageing and dilapidated existing facilities at the Marton site. A further £1.2m is needed to complete the work.
The surgery at the site has already been finished and is being rented temporarily to Norcross vets to help raise more cash.
Bosses at the charity say a new home is urgently needed as the Longview centre, on Division Lane, is in such a state of disrepair, there is now concern about structural movement.
The new centre at Stalmine would allow it to care for double the number of animals it can currently cope with, as well as providing better facilities and more modern, comfortable offices for staff - who currently work out of portable cabins.
Martyn Tetchener, branch manager, said: “The present centre buildings are built on the Moss and do not have foundations, a complete rebuild would be needed.
“The trustees are at present trying to keep the dilapidated centre open until the completion of the new centre, but there are now great structural movement concerns.
“All work done to the new site has to be passed by the national RSPCA regulations first before submitting to the local council for planning approval.
“The branch is completely self-funding and receives no funds from government.
“We are hoping to raise the £1.2m still needed by applying to animal welfare grants, legacies written to benefit the local branch directly, fundraising events and general donations from generous local people.
“We are also hoping the dog walk will raise money as we will be collecting with buckets, as well as having people sponsoring us and also raising awareness of the new build we are trying to complete.
“We have started training for the walk and will be swapping dogs over regularly along the route to make sure they don’t get too tired.
“We are hoping the local community will support us.”
To sponsor the team, log onto www.rspcablackpool.org.uk or call (01253) 763991.