As is traditional every New Year’s Eve, I will be looking back on 2020 and looking forward to 2021. When the River Taff burst its banks back in February during Storm Dennis and flooded the charity shop we were devastated. Little did we know then that it was only the start of what was to be our most difficult year yet. When Covid19 and lockdown followed at the end of March, we genuinely feared for our future. As a small, independent charity we did not have much in the way of reserves, as every spare penny was ploughed back into the rescue centre to improve the welfare of the dogs. Overnight we lost 60% of our income - £1,000 every single day. As well as our financial worries we also had to respond to the challenges operationally and adapt to new ways of working. As a rescue that predominantly take stray dogs we couldn’t simply batten down the hatches and close our doors.    
To put into words how proud I am of our staff, trustees and volunteers is not easy without welling up. I am simply in awe of them and the resilience they have shown. We have plenty to celebrate and have achieved so much despite the challenges. We could not have kept our doors open without the incredible backing of our supporters. When we truly thought we were broken your unwavering support lifted us and gave us the determination to face our challenges head on.
Thanks to you, we provided a place of safety for 589 dogs in 2020. 309 were strays, 197 came from owners in urgent need of help, 47 were ex-racing greyhounds from our local track, 17 were puppies born on site, 6 came from other rescues and 13 were respite dogs. So many of them had chronic health issues – our warrior Brave abandoned on a remote mountain road, little Hondo discarded with his broken heart and beautiful Belle who needed an emergency C-section.  Our annual vet bill hit £100,000 for the first time, but you responded generously to every urgent plea we posted. You also made sure our broken boilers were fixed, that we had a new ride on mower and that our dogs had comfy raised beds for the newly tiled kennels. 

Our grant funders and corporate supporters have also been there for us every step of the way, with special thanks to WCVA, Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC, ADCH, Support Adoption for Pets and Burns Pet Nutrition to name just a few.
Whilst 2020 has tested us to our limits, I honestly think it has made us stronger. We have dug deep and found a strength that we did not know we had. As we move forward in to 2021 we’ll be harnessing that energy and building an even more resilient Hope Rescue. We have some exciting plans to develop our canine respite programme, offering temporary care for dogs belonging to owners in crisis. We have just been granted planning permission to build two home from home kennels – extra-large kennels with their own sofa and outside spaces for our longer-term dogs. Thanks to a legacy donation, we can make this happen in 2021.

If we are fortunate enough to secure grant funding, we are also hoping to refurbish our training room, build a new reception and grooming room, refurbish our laundry and storage facilities, and extend our car park.  We will of course continue to be there for the most vulnerable dogs in our local communities, providing a safe place for them as they start their journey into their new homes.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year, and we will see you in 2021.  
Vanessa Waddon
Founder and Transformation Manager