‘I quit a career in teaching to work for an animal sanctuary’

Name: Kath Bourne
Age: 26
Income: £24,000
Occupation: Education officer, animal sanctuary

I recently quit my teaching career to work in education at Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries. I think I underestimated what a career in secondary teaching was like – especially in science. I often felt stressed in the role, and particularly frustrated at myself for not being able to deliver as high quality lessons in physics or chemistry as I could in biology. But I did learn a lot, and I’m incredibly grateful to my mentors during my teacher training period for all of their kind support.

I started as education and outreach officer at the animal sanctuary four weeks ago. My salary is £24,000. I’m responsible for spreading the message about what we’re doing and try to involve the local community as much as we can. The sanctuary has already rescued more than 300 agricultural animals including sheep, pigs, cattle, horses and turkeys. Luckily we have large open paddocks for our animals and provide large woodland areas for our rescued pigs. We’re fundraising at the moment so that we can build four new hen houses which will allow us to rescue an extra 160 hens. Animals come here for a variety of reasons; sometimes they’re from the RSPCA following a cruelty case, or it could be because the owner has had an injury or their financial circumstances have changed.

I live in Bristol where I rent a double room with two close friends in a three-bedroom flat share. I’ve lived there since November and I love it. It’s the first flat that I’ve felt at home in. We’re like a little family; we plan meals together. My housemates and I set a budget of £20 each a week for meals to eat together. We take it in turns to cook each night and we often eat leftovers for lunch. Rent comes to £500 a month and then bills on top are about £100 a month.

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My parents instilled in me the importance of saving money and only buying what you can honestly afford. I grew up watching them be sensible with money. My mum worked full-time looking after my brother, who is severely disabled, and they were on a low income. Although I earn far less than my boyfriend, who works as a mechanical engineer, I’m probably better at handling money than he is.

As a result, I’ve managed to save £20,000 through stashing away a minimum of £200 a month – although this increases if I feel financially stable. I have a help-to-buy Isa, a Lifetime Isa and a regular savings account. I’d like to use the money to buy a house in Bristol but I think it’s a little out of my budget at the moment. I’d like to save more money. Friends have suggested buying a house together but I’m not sure this is a viable option for me – I don’t like the idea of any kind of confrontation or the division of assets further down the line.

I’m a big fan of [online bank] Monzo. I love the “shared tab” feature as it lets my boyfriend and I pay for everything evenly without having to share a bank account.

Bristol’s a great city to live in and I try and make the most of it. It’s really good for music, arts and culture. I love going to festivals and gigs – it’s my time to unwind. I went paddle boarding at the weekend for the first time and loved it, even though I spent most of my time in the water rather than on top of it.

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I spend a lot on travel because my boyfriend lives in London and I work in Worcestershire. My train ticket to London costs £40.55 with a 26-30 railcard. As my job involves travelling by car, I also spend about £30 a week on petrol.

I haven’t been abroad this year. My main holiday was a trip to Wales for the bank holiday, although saying that I do have a friend’s birthday in Barcelona in November. I don’t mind as I’m quite fortunate to have gone travelling in the past.

Looking to the future, I’d say saving for a property is a priority for me. My parents told me it’s better to invest in property – especially in the current economic climate where we don’t know what’s going to happen – so that’s what I’m focusing on.

As told to Suzanne Bearne



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