‘A colossal problem’ - animal charity promises to stay open despite missing out on lifeline funding
PUBLISHED: 15:14 15 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:03 15 April 2020
Archant Norfolk Copyright
An animal sanctuary owner who has lost her main income stream due to coronavirus restrictions has said failure is not an option and promised to keep her centre open.
Lyz Hall, 41, who has run Hallswood Animal Sanctuary on Shortthorn Road, Stratton Strawless, since 2003, was forced to temporarily close her three charity shops in Norwich and cancel all fundraising at public events since lockdown measures were enforced in March.
The shops, on Suffolk Square, Drayton Road and Magdalen Street, as well as public fundraising events help raise tens of thousands of pounds each year which help feed, vaccinate, pay for vets bills and medication for the 800 wild and domestic animals she cares for, as well as pay her eight part-time staff.
Mrs Hall is concerned about the overall impact of lockdown measures on animal welfare across the country would be “dire” due to people not being able to afford to neuter, vaccinate or properly care for their animals if they were injured.
She has seen a 60pc increase in animals being left at the sanctuary for her to look after since the restrictions started including a box of cats with a letter from their previous owner saying they could not cope financially with the pets.
Mrs Hall said: “We have to find an option to carry on. Failure is not an option. It is an incredibly difficult time. It is not like we have a bottomless pit of money.
“Most of our money comes from fundraising. We are not included in any grants for government help. From an animal point of view this is catastrophic. It is a colossal problem for us.”
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The sanctuary, based on 8.5 acres of land, operates 24/7 and was started in 1995 by Mrs Hall’s late husband Keith, who died in 2006.
Its dozens of volunteers and staff care for a variety of animals from horses, hedgehogs and jackdaws to goats, donkeys and cats and release wild animals, after getting treatment for injuries, rehome animals and look after older animals.
Mrs Hall, who thanked vets, food suppliers and private land owners who had been very kind to her in terms of paying fees and rent, added: “We are relying on the kindness of strangers.”
Norwich City Council leases the charity shops on Drayton Road and Suffolk Square.
A council spokesman said: “NPS who manage properties on our behalf will be speaking to Lyz to give her reassurance around her particular situation.
“Each of our commercial tenants will find themselves in a different position as a result of this situation and we’ll treat each on a case by case basis – working together to find a suitable solution as regards to rent payments.
“In terms of other support, along with many other businesses, Hallswood Animal Sanctuary has been given rates relief for a year. They are also eligible for a government grant, which we are paying out to businesses across the city daily.
“We are advising all city businesses to visit our website to find out more about the support on offer and fill out a grants form to ensure we have all the details we need to award payment.”
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