Third Sector Awards 2016: Charity Partnership of the Year - Winner: The Cat Population Control Group

Awarded to a partnership between two or more charities that has enabled the partners more effectively to deliver services to beneficiaries, reach new groups or reduce costs. This could also be a partnership between a charity and a social enterprise or a not-for-profit campaigning group

What is it?

The Cat Protection Population Control Group was formed in 2013 by nine animal welfare charities to maximise the effectiveness of cat-neutering programmes and reduce the number that needed rescuing.

Which charities are involved?

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the Blue Cross, Cats Protection, the Celia Hammond Animal Trust, International Cat Care, the Mayhew Animal Home, the PDSA, the RSPCA and the Wood Green Animal Charity.

What did they do?

The charities realised that, although more than £9m a year was being spent on subsidised cat-neutering programmes, the UK’s cat population was spiralling out of control, with 85 per cent of litters unplanned.

The nine organisations, which were supported by the University of Bristol, wanted to move the message on neutering away from the threat of cat overpopulation as a result of a failure to neuter to a softer message that focused on the wellbeing of each animal.

Partners pooled expertise in veterinary medicine, marketing and communications, and project management in a bid to tackle the problem.

Research by the RSPCA in 2012 had shown that one of the main barriers to neutering was that 32 per cent of cat owners mistakenly believed a female cat should be allowed to have a litter before being spayed. The charities identified dispelling this myth as a key priority and put in place awareness campaigns and other initiatives such as World Spay Day.

What has it achieved?

The programme has led to a rise in the neutering rate of UK cats from 86 per cent in 2012 to 92 per cent in 2015. There has been a fall in the proportion of cat owners that believe in the one-litter myth, from 32 per cent in 2012 to 25 per cent in 2015.

What did the judges say?

Angela Clements, chief executive of Fair For You, said the project had been carried out by "an impressive group of charities combining in partnership far beyond their own remit to make an important and lasting impact on animal welfare".

Kerrey Baker, marketing and relationships manager at the Shared Interest Society, said it was "an impressive collaboration of nine leading UK organisations".

Highly commended

Collaboration House: the Fayre Share Foundation, the Council of Christians and Jews, the Forum for Discussion of Israel and Palestine, Integrity, the Faith-based Regeneration Network UK, Migrant Voice, Coexist House, the International Debate Education Association, Faiths Forum for London, the Christian Muslim Forum and the Aegis Trust


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Lambeth Integrated Personalised Support Alliance: Certitude, Thames Reach, South London and Madsley NHS Foundation Trust, the London Borough of Lambeth and the Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group

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