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‘It’s a very scary day’ - Father’s fear coronavirus downturn could leave family ‘on the streets’

PUBLISHED: 19:26 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 19:26 19 March 2020

Caption: David Cansfield and fiancee Claudia McQue say their business Happy Hound Retreat is struggling due to coronavirus. Photo: David Cansfield.

Caption: David Cansfield and fiancee Claudia McQue say their business Happy Hound Retreat is struggling due to coronavirus. Photo: David Cansfield.

Archant

The owner of a family-run kennel has told how the immediate impact of the spread of coronavirus on his business has left him fearing his family could be “on the streets”.

Caption: The couple fear their family risk ending up Caption: The couple fear their family risk ending up "on the streets". Pictured, their one-year-old son Zach. Photo: David Cansfield.

David Cansfield, 29, runs the Happy Hound Retreat boarding kennel, near Terrington St Clement, with fiancee Claudia McQue.

And the couple, who have a one-year-old son, have seen a huge spike in cancellations after customers holidays were cancelled due to travel restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Mr Cansfield said: “Our business is 95pc people going on holiday and our phone is just ringing off the hook with cancellations right now.

“This is going to affect Easter, it’s going to affect summer, and we need that build-up to keep going through the winter.

“It’s a very scary day as we don’t know what’s going on. It’s a bit of a panic.”

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The couple are hiring out their field for people in self-isolation who want to take walks with their pets, as well as offering pet care to NHS workers, but say they fear the limited income won’t cover their costs - let alone allow them to continue paying staff member.

“Our mortgage is £1,500 a month and we’re talking about hiring the field out for £10 a time,” he added.

“It’s a massive concern. We don’t qualify for a grant as the council says we’re technically not a hospitality business.

“We’re hoping to get a mortgage holiday but they need to see a drop in income so we’ve got to wait with no money coming in. We’ve got all the bills and food shops.

“Our business is our home so if this all goes under and the bank takes it off us then we’re on the streets.

“There’s so much uncertainty. We’re trying to ring all the helplines but the demand is so high we’re not getting answers.”

Mr Cansfield said they were trying to keep their one full-time member of staff in work, adding: “We don’t want her to have no money either.”

When asked what he thought of the government’s support, he said: “The plans are there but none of its been finalised. It all seems to be up in the air at the moment.”

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