Following careful consideration, the difficult decision has been made that all World Horse Welfare centres will remain closed to the public until February 2021
In a decision that will affect all four of its rescue centres in Norfolk, Somerset, Lancashire and Aberdeenshire, World Horse Welfare has announced that its centres will remain closed until the February half term of 2021.
Roly Owers, CEO of the charity, said: “We so very much want to be able to welcome everyone back, but we need to put the safety of our staff and the public first. While we love having visitors on site, without doubt this adds additional risk in terms of keeping our centres COVID-secure. The protective measures we’d need to put in place would also inevitably take valuable time from the yard and Visitor Centre staff to ensure measures were being followed. As we’ve recently been able to start rehoming our horses again, our yard staff are busy once more with rehabilitation work. The charity’s priority over the coming months has to be the rehabilitation and rehoming of our horses, as each equine who’s rehomed makes a space available for another in need. With all four farms currently at full capacity, making space available for the large number of welfare cases expected later in the year is vital.”
The measures required to ensure social distancing and biosecurity within each centre would drastically limit the number of visitors who could be welcomed, which means opening wouldn’t be viable when balanced with the cost implications.
Zoe Clifford, of Penny Farm in Lancashire, said: “We really miss our visitors, many of whom we ordinarily see so regularly they feel more like family. We know that our farm and horses have a place in people’s hearts as well as the local community, but we have to put the safety of our staff and visitors first. We’ll keep in touch with everyone through social media – our Facebook page will post updates and let people know about virtual events we’ll be holding. We’re certainly looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the farm, and there will be celebrations when we do, but in the meantime our focus is on rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming as many horses as possible.”
The latest information will be available through the World Horse Welfare website and social media channels, where supporters can sign up for a free e-newsletter.
For more information, visit worldhorsewelfare.org