Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home to raise funds with the Virtual Busk

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home to raise funds with the Virtual Busk

Katie Kennedy, Corporate Engagement and Events Coordinator at the EDCH tells us more about the initiative and its main goals

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt across a number of industries, with businesses closed for the foreseeable as we collectively try to limit and prevent the effects of the virus. With the nation on lockdown and people encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, charities like the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home have no choice but to temporarily close their doors, which also means a short-term halt on the rehoming process. Though their lines remain open seven days a week, the EDCH's main priority right now is to ensure that the animals currently in their care are well looked after and safe.

As the pandemic continues to hit the EDCH financially, every bit of support from the public is vital to keep their services running. With this in mind, the team is getting creative and have started the Virtual Busk, a weekly live stream on their Facebook page that will feature different artists with the aim of raising money for the Home. Musician and singer Katie Kennedy, who is also the Corporate Engagement and Events Coordinator at the EDCH, took on the first Virtual Busk slot, raising over £600. With the next Virtual Busk taking place tonight (Thu 26 Mar, 7pm) and featuring Glasgow musician Andrew Dickson, we caught up with Katie to find out more about the initiative.

How has COVID-19 affected the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home and the animals there?
Unfortunately, we have cancelled all fundraising activities and temporarily closed rehoming and boarding at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home. This has a big impact on the income coming into the Home. However, with over 100 animals on site, our staff can't stop working. All the dogs and cats need to be fed, cleaned and exercised on a daily basis. Rest assured we have an emergency contingency plan in place to ensure all animals at the Home receive the food and care they need during this crisis.

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home to raise funds with the Virtual Busk

Why did you decide to set up the Virtual Busk?
My initial thoughts were 'how could I bring a creative approach to fundraising with the skills I have?' Whilst also being aware of the fact that finances and wages are a potentially sensitive issue at the moment. Music for me is a tool that can evoke joy and a sense of community, which was exactly what I wanted for everyone tuning into the live session.

What was the response to the first session and what does the money raised go towards?
The response was amazing, I truly wasn't expecting it to reach that many people! There was some lovely feedback, people found it very natural, and I think the casual approach helped people relax into understanding that we are all in this together. The donations continued to increase over the weekend and have so far raised over £600, which will go towards operating costs over the coming weeks (or months).

What are you hoping the upcoming Virtual Busk sessions will achieve? Do you have a fundraising target?
As we have a different musician lined up each week, my goal is to tap into their network so we can increase awareness of the work we do at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home. We don't have a fundraising target for this event and I feel, due to this global crisis, if we bring joy to our supporter's day through music, then hopefully the donations will follow.

What else can members of the public do to help the EDCH in these difficult times?
The best way you could help us right now would be to make a financial donation or set up a monthly direct debit donation, if you are able to do so. Due to the outbreak, the cancellation of events and the temporary closure of rehoming and boarding, the Home has sadly experienced a significant drop in donations and income. If you are able to support the Home at this difficult time, we would be most grateful if you could make a donation to help us continue our work.

Tune into the Virtual Busk at facebook.com/EdinDogCatHome, every Thursday at 7pm. Find out more and support the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home at edch.org.uk/support-us/donate/.

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