Bosses of an animal rescue charity fear for the sanctuary’s future as the coronavirus pandemic has crippled the fundraising methods that keep them afloat.
Staff and volunteers at Happy Endings Rescue in Painters Forstal, near Faversham, worry they may not be able to keep animals fed with limited cash and are pleading for public support.
The virus outbreak means volunteers are unable to fundraise as they would usually, for example at Faversham markets.
Chris Johns, one of the charity’s founders, says its online presence is now its only lifeline.
“We are in shock,” he said. “Like many, many small charities we are reliant on incoming donations and the physical efforts of our volunteers and right now lifelines have been cut off. ”
In response, the charity has put out a plea for help via its website and is even auctioning toilet roll on Facebook.
“We receive lots of gifts and items and the team place them on the auction site every month,” said Mr Johns.
“We start each item from £1 and send them to the winning bidders. It’s good fun and with so many people online at the moment we are really hoping people will get involved.”
The team posted the family pack of loo roll as a top auction item in the hope it will raise not only money but spirits too.
“We’re trying to keep positive but we are very worried,” admitted Chris. “It costs £6,000 a month to feed the animals and right now we don’t know how we are going to keep finding that amount.”
The charity’s website also features many of its resident animals – including its popular donkeys who make regular appearances at Faversham events and the Christmas markets, plus its colourful parrots, llamas and meerkats Alex, Oleg and Digger.
Each can be sponsored – giving well-wishers a personal link to their favourite animal and there is also a page dedicated to gifts and merchandise.
“Our online presence is our only lifeline now,” said Chris. “We have even lost our weekly stall at Faversham market. It brought in regular funds but it is run by our older volunteers, who due to their ages, are now staying at home to protect their health.
“Right now it’s impossible for any of us to know what will happen – how long this situation will go on for.
“We have had to ask volunteers and visitors to stay away, and our boarding cattery and kennels are empty as people’s holidays are cancelled. You never imagine facing a situation like this.”
Chris and the team at Happy Endings Rescue are now hoping that while people’s own families and wellbeing must take priority there is still some room for support.
“We are incredibly aware of the pressures everyone is under at the moment but if people do wish to help, then please do log on – join in the auction, become a sponsor or simply buy a gift for a loved one,” Chris added.
“The smallest gestures really will make the biggest difference to the animals.”
You can donate to the charity by clicking here or join its auction group Happy Endings Rescue on Facebook.
For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here
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