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Superfast broadband boosts Yorkshire RSPCA’s fundraising drive

Thursday, June 4th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

An RSPCA branch in Yorkshire is enjoying the benefits of superfast broadband after an £800 grant helped it get online.

The charity’s Leeds, Wakefield and District Branch recently moved to a new re-homing centre in Wakefield after previously working from rented accommodation spread over several sites.

Branch manager Caroline Lewis-Jones (pictured with Superconnected West Yorkshire's Mark Durham, animal care manager Jo Jackson and Gizmo the cat) said the new site had to be almost completely re-built and had no internet access at all.

“Having seen the Superconnected ads, I knew there was funding assistance out there so started looking into it,” she said.

The Superconnected voucher scheme offers grants to businesses, charities and other organisations to help them install superfast broadband.

The branch received £800 funding through Superconnected West Yorkshire to install a dedicated fibre optic broadband connection. It now benefits from upload and download speeds of 22Mbps.

Mrs Lewis-Jones praised the "slick and efficient" process that had made it easy to set up the connection.

'Reliant on Facebook'

The internet is an important fundraising and communication tool for the RSPCA, she said.

“Each of the regional branches operates independently, so we have to raise our own funds.

“Our branch covers a large area, which means it can be quite hard to keep in touch with all our supporters on a regular basis.

“We are very reliant on Facebook and other social media to update our local supporters and donors and let them know what’s happening at the centre.”

The RSPCA Leeds, Wakefield and District Branch employs about 30 permanent staff and has around 150 volunteers.

The new centre at East Ardsley has brought all of the charity's facilities together under one roof, including accommodation for dogs, cats and smaller animals.

Mark Durham, of Superconnected Leeds Bradford, said: “High speed internet is vital for many businesses, and enabling them to access funding to improve their connectivity is really rewarding, but it’s even more satisfying when we know we’re facilitating a charity’s fundraising work so it can continue to provide support across the region."

He added that although the broadband voucher scheme has been extended, it is due to run out within the next year and urged local businesses and charities to start the application process soon.

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