Lincolnshire-based equine charity, Bransby Horses, has decided to close its site to visitors at 4pm Friday 20th March for the foreseeable future and cancel all spring activities, as a precaution in light of the continually evolving nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The site in Bransby, which welcomes thousands of visitors each year, will close to visitors but remain operational, so they can continue to care for the 362 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules living on site. Another 60 equines live at their second site at Barlings but this additional site isn’t open to visitors.
Jo Snell, CEO at Bransby Horses said: “This really is a period of uncertainty for many people across the UK, with heavy flooding during the winter and now the coronavirus pandemic. Like many, we have been impacted too and it is important we prioritise the health and safety of our staff, visitors and equines.”
“Not only do we want to do our bit by limiting gatherings of people here but we need to face the very real possibility that some of our staff may need to self-isolate, meaning we have to work with a slim team on the ground. Some of our staff and visitors are vulnerable and we need to consider this in all decision-making. We want to make the best decision for them.”
“It’s been a hard few months, with the flooding and now the coronavirus outbreak but we are putting plans in place to do what we can to protect our staff and supporters and have the best chance of continuing to be able to look after our animals at this uncertain time.”
The Charity will be continuing to share news, stories and updates on social media throughout the closure, so supporters can follow the progress of the Charity. Yard teams and office teams will continue to keep the Charity functioning over the next few weeks, following the guidelines the Government have issued. In April, the situation will be re-evaluated and the site will only reopen if guidelines from the Government confirm this is the best course of action at that time.
Jo Snell added: “Our horses, ponies, donkeys and mules will continue to receive the high quality of care we are known for providing and our many fosterers across the UK will continue to receive support from our foster liaison team. It may not be business as normal but we have responsibilities to our people and our animals, which we must continue to look after.”
Bransby Horses have been facing the most challenging times since serious flooding of their land, due to heavy rainfall, in 2019. During the flooding, an additional £200,000 was needed to urgently move some of the equines from the Bransby site to their site at Barlings, and set up temporary facilities there. This spring, as coronavirus hits the UK, like many organisations, the charity is preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. More than 180 people work for the charity, across two sites in Lincolnshire. The site is usually open 362 days per year, 7 days a week, 9am – 5pm and only usually closes Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. For more information about Bransby Horses and the work they do, visit www.bransbyhorses.co.uk or find them on Facebook as ‘Bransby Horses – Rescue and Welfare’.