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Camel park’s plea for donations to help feed animals

PUBLISHED: 08:39 30 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:39 30 April 2020

Ray Smith with animals at Camel Park Oasis, near Halesworth. PHOTO: Camel Park Oasis

Ray Smith with animals at Camel Park Oasis, near Halesworth. PHOTO: Camel Park Oasis

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A family-run farm park has turned to crowdfunding websites to be able to feed their animals after the Coronavirus pandemic prevented them opening for the summer.

Alpacas at Camel Park Oasis, near Halesworth. PHOTO: Camel Park OasisAlpacas at Camel Park Oasis, near Halesworth. PHOTO: Camel Park Oasis

The owners of Camel Park Oasis, in Cratfield, near Halesworth, applied for the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) through HSBC on March 23, but are yet to hear the outcome of their application.

The park is usually open from around Easter until October, but were unable to open as planned this year following the coronavirus outbreak.

Owner Ray Smith said: “About a week before we were due to open, we were stopped by the virus and that’s given us some difficulties.

“This has hit us particularly hard as we are seasonal and therefore have been closed all winter, with no income, and we rely on the Easter period to start supporting the business again.

A Lemur at Camel Park Oasis, near Halesworth. PHOTO: Camel Park OasisA Lemur at Camel Park Oasis, near Halesworth. PHOTO: Camel Park Oasis

“We applied online, and I must have rang them 50 times but no one has come back to us. They are overwhelmed.

“You get your hopes built up with all these promises but they haven’t materialised.”

An HSBC UK spokesperson confirmed the application was now in progress. They said: “We have resolved the issue and apologised to the customer for the delay. We are working very hard to support our customers in these difficult times including our Covid-19 help line and the dedicated support on our public website including an online portal to enable our customers to apply for CBILS online.”

The park has 18 camels, as well as a number of llamas, alpacas, donkeys, lemars and meerkats.

Mr Smith said: “We had to launch an appeal while we await the outcome just to be able to support feeding our animals.

“We are hoping that our loyal visitors and supporters will help us to raise funds, to assist us to pay for feed and veterinary care, as our own funds are depleting fast. All of our animals eat a lot and they can’t wait on promises.

“We have been lucky enough to receive the small business rate relief grant, but we have had to use this to pay outstanding invoices for pre season advertising, printing of brochures and website design which we had already committed to before this all started, much of which is now wasted at this point.

“Easter is usually our busiest time and now we’re in a bit of a pickle.”

Meerkats at Camel Park Oasis, near Halesworth. PHOTO: Camel Park OasisMeerkats at Camel Park Oasis, near Halesworth. PHOTO: Camel Park Oasis

To donate, go to: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-the-animals-at-camel-park-oasis.


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