RSPCA Crafter vans are the cat's whiskers

VW van at Leybourne RSPCA rescue centre (Maidstone) photo Sean Aidan.

Volkswagen is on a mission to rescue our furry friends in need, supplying the RSPCA with a six new Crafter vans.

Britain's biggest animal welfare charity has rolled out the first of its six new short wheelbase CR30 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion Crafter vans, which marks the beginning of a three-year partnership with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

The partnership is designed to save the lives of thousands of animals across England and Wales by helping transport 20,000 animals in need of care all over the country. This will help to save the charity £800,000 a year, and allow them to give treatment to more animals in need of veterinary care.

To meet the specialist needs of the RSPCA, the vans have also been converted and - as with all Volkswagen 'Engineered for You' vans – are tailored to suit the organisation's specific requirements.

Adjustments include a fully sealed load-space with a spray-on waterproof liner in order to enable the charity's workers to easily wash out the vans after use, and an additional 'Flettner Ventilator', in order to provide the animals in the back with a constant stream of fresh air.

The Crafters' carriers have also each been fitted with a total of nine bespoke cages, which vary in size to suit all animals. All cages also have removable partitions between them to allow the RSPCA to pick up and transport more 'unusual' passengers.

RSPCA Volkswagen Crafter vans

RSPCA Volkswagen Crafter vans

Under the theme of caring for the community, Volkswagen launched a nationwide competition for school children, who were challenged to design the exterior bodywork. The vans have all been wrapped in the colourful winning designs.

Chris Black, head of fleet at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: 'This partnership with the RSPCA demonstrates our ongoing commitment to working with Britain's businesses and organisations.

'It's great to be able to work with the RSPCA in this way and we are proud to have been chosen by them – it shows that we are recognised for providing products of outstanding quality that are flexible, and can be tailored to a business's bespoke needs.'

Matthew Cull, of the RSPCA, added: 'The impact this commitment from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will have on the day-to-day management of our core animal welfare activity is huge.

'The Networking Project allows our staff on the frontline at animal centres to make the best decisions and use all our available resources in the most cost effective and efficient way. The Crafters are key to making this happen.'