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Prime Minister David Cameron meets Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s

Prime Minister David Cameron visited Battersea Dogs & Cats Home today to mark an historic milestone for the 152 year old animal charity, so synonymous with the mighty chimneys of Battersea Power Station - a celebration of its one thousand volunteers.

The Prime Minister met Battersea's 1000th active volunteer James Moore and many other volunteers at the iconic south-west London centre that has formed a key part of the London landscape since 1860. Mr Cameron thanked them for donating their time to the charity’s three centres - which this year already amounts to a staggering 50,000 hours. James Moore joins the charity’s cattery and will help care for some of the Home’s 190 cats, making their stay as comfortable as possible.

Over three million dogs and cats have been rehomed by Battersea and commenting on his visit the Prime Minister said:
"Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have been doing fantastic work for over 150 years and I'm delighted to congratulate them on their 1000th volunteer. Not only do they carry out vital frontline work in animal welfare, but also inspire people to make a positive difference with their time. Today I've had the chance to see their volunteers in action and have been amazed by the commitment and enthusiasm of everybody here."

Battersea has seen a huge increase in volunteering, with a 45% increase in applications from all across the UK. The Home’s volunteers come from all walks of life, with many full-time professionals amongst those keen to offer their free time to support Battersea's vital animal welfare work. They include police officers, Chelsea Pensioners, business managers, nurses and those now retired from full time work and their contribution to Battersea is worth almost £500,000 a year.

Welcoming the Prime Minister to Battersea, Chief Executive Claire Horton said:
“It's a great honour for everybody here at Battersea to welcome the Prime Minister to our world-famous Home for such an important occasion. Without our fantastic volunteers Battersea would not be able to care for the thousands of lost, unwanted, and abandoned animals we take in every year.

"People want to volunteer at Battersea as it’s a charity they know and love. They share a passion and a commitment for our animals and want to see them get a second chance in life. Some of our volunteers have supported us for almost thirty years and many, like James have recently joined us. They're now very much part of the Battersea home and we are very grateful for their support."

This was the Prime Minister's first visit to the iconic Battersea centre, although Downing Street successfully rehomed Larry, a Battersea cat, over two years ago. Welcomed by a unique Guard of Honour of Battersea dogs, looked after by volunteers, Mr Cameron also helped train a dog and visited the charity's impressive cattery and clinic, where the full time staff, vets and vet nurses enjoy the additional support of volunteers.

As well as walking dogs, socialising cats and in some cases fostering them in their own homes, Battersea volunteers increasingly help with other roles such as welcoming the thousands of visitors to the Home, giving talks in the community, gardening and even doing the laundry of the animal bedding.

James Moore, the Home’s 1000th volunteer says: “As soon as I walked through the famous gate I knew there was something special about Battersea. We are all here because we hope we can make a difference to the animals in some way. There is a real community spirit too which makes it a wonderful place to be.”

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