Victoria has been working with us for a few years now and is responsible for generating income for the centre. She mostly works on site, but also has to disappear for meetings every now and then, and spends most time in her office so you may not have seen her around. However, if you attend any of our events Victoria will most likely be there! She organises our yearly dog show Bark in the Park, and more recently our first Big Walkies event. Although she prefers her office to be an animal-free zone, we have sometimes snuck a dog or two in there and she has eventually learned to love them!
Victoria at the centre
What does your job involve on a daily basis?
"In my area of management I'm responsible for the various types of income generation, including the charity shops in Long Eaton, Belper and Ripley, as well as events and general fundraising. It's important for me to keep an eye on all of these as they are essential in raising funds for the centre to allow the team to carry on with their rehabilitation work for animals that have arrived from poor situations - neglect, abuse, abandonment and simply unwanted. I also work on the website and I'm in charge of marketing and branding, so it's up to me to keep the centre looking neat and professional when it comes to displays, posters and uniform. When Deb is away I step in as Deputy Manager to make sure the centre carries on running smoothly!"
How did you get into the role?
"I have a background in retail and sales, and when I saw this job advertised I applied and was given the job, which I was very pleased about. I thought it looked like an interesting and challenging position and it certainly didn't disappoint!"
What is the best part of the job?
"I enjoy seeing how the branch is developing and expanding with time. We're a tiny centre and many people didn't even know we existed until very recently, so it's good to know we're getting out there and putting ourselves on the map. The centre is definitely growing and it's great to see awareness increasing and more people looking to us when they want to support a charity or adopt a pet. We've also been working with the local community to increase support and awareness, which is very important."
Victoria organises our Bark in the Park event every summer
What is the hardest part of the job?
"Although I don't work directly with the animals, it still upsets me when I see them arrive in a bad state. Seeing the terrible conditions that they've been forced into and knowing that people are capable of inflicting that sort of abuse on animals is very saddening. As well as this, it's a constant struggle trying to raise more awareness and letting people know that we are a self funded charity and not part of National RSPCA. Many people assume we receive funding from the government and this isn't the case, so I'm trying to spread the word that we need support from local people! It's a lot of pressure trying to ensure the income generation continues."
Tell us about your most memorable moment at work
"This isn't about the centre actually, as my most memorable moment at work was at Markeaton Park! The first year I ran Bark in the Park was very stressful and I was so worried it would be a total flop. When I saw all these people show up with their dogs it was such a relief! That show was a big success and I'll remember that - all of the hard work paid off."
Who was the most memorable animal at the centre?
"As I don't work in animal care, I don't have that much to do with the animals. However, once in a while I'll have a dog in the office (rarely out of choice as I'm allergic to them) and one that will always stick out for me was Missie. She was a pregnant Jack Russell - a tiny little thing with the biggest personality! Missie spent a while in my office and I actually did get quite attached to her. She gave birth in time, but sadly the puppies weren't healthy and she ended up losing them, which was upsetting for all of us - particularly Missie - but she was so lovely and cheeky. I actually didn't mind having her in my office!"
Missie the Jack Russell
And finally, have you ever adopted an animal from the RSPCA?
"No, I haven't! I don't have any pets as I work full time so my family wouldn't have time to give a pet the time and attention it needs at the moment. Every once in a while I'll take an animal home to foster, which my sons love. I've taken a few foster bunnies home, the most memorable of which were two tiny bunnies that needed to be hand reared as they were found abandoned under a bush in a group of 17. They were adorable! More recently I fostered Pixie the baby rabbit - she had a lot of attitude for a tiny bunny, she was great."
Thank you Victoria!