Newcastle’s best-known animal rescue centre is homing in on advice from RMT Accountants to help support its planned investment in new facilities.

After building a new cat maternity suite and kitten creche at its Benton North Farm shelter in 2019, the Newcastle Dog & Cat Shelter is planning to create an equivalent facility for puppies this year, as well as a new ‘quiet kennel’ in which older and more nervous dogs can live while the charity works to rehome them.

And it is also putting new resources in place to support and advise customers who adopt animals from the shelter and get used to having them at home.

Judith Longmore, Head of Charities at Gosforth-based RMT, is now working with the Shelter’s management team on developing and implementing its growth plans, as well as ensuring the right financial structures are in place to help deliver them.

Originally established in 1896, the Newcastle Dog & Cat Shelter helps thousands of lost, unwanted, neglected, abused and abandoned animals every year and covers the whole of the North East from its Benton North Farm and Claremont Road facilities in Newcastle.

It aims to reunite lost animals with their owners and find loving new homes for those which, for whatever reason, are no longer wanted, and needs to raise around £1.5m every year to cover its running costs.

As well as dogs and cats, the Shelter also looks after rabbits and other small animals, and has a number of other larger animals, including horses, ponies, donkeys, pigs and sheep, living in retirement at Benton North Farm, where this is also now a coffee shop.

All of the animals it rehomes are neutered, vaccinated and microchipped and come with four weeks’ free pet insurance and a free veterinary health check to give new owners peace of mind.

The Shelter hosted a TV broadcast with Channel Four’s Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick two years ago which led to a substantial increase in rehoming rates and it has remained very busy ever since.

Leyla Rutter, chief executive at Newcastle Dog & Cat Shelter, says: “We had almost 200 kittens either born here or brought in to us in 2019 and the new facilities that we’ve developed so far are essential in ensuring we can look after all the animals that need our help.

Being able to enhance the support we can provide to families that take animals from us is central in helping to ensure that as many of our adoptions as possible are successful, but there’s naturally a cost attached for us in making this additional resource available.

“We’ve taken steps over the last couple of years to enhance the ways in which we manage our finances and raise the money we need to meet our day-to-day costs, including opening a coffee shop at the Benton site which is proving very popular.

“Bringing in a local firm with RMT’s financial and business expertise is the next stage of this process, and their advice and guidance will underpin the improvements and progress that we want to make in 2020 and beyond.”

Judith Longmore at RMT Accountants adds: “The staff at the Newcastle Dog & Cat Shelter do an amazing job in looking after and rehoming hundreds of animals in need and it’s fantastic to be working with an organisation that delivers such positive results to both its human and animal clients every day.”