Hopefield Animal Sanctuary welcomes visitors after lockdown
- Credit: Ricci Fothergill
Hopefield Animal Sanctuary opened its doors on April 12 to welcome back visitors who want to see its 500 different animals.
We spoke to the office manager, Sophie Kemp, to see how the sanctuary has been coping under lockdown restrictions and to hear about its preparations for the new opening.
Have there been more referrals this past year, and if so, of what animals?
We've definitely seen an increase in the number of animals looking for new homes - cockerels in particular.
Sadly, there seemed to be a trend of people purchasing chicks, or hatching eggs during the first lockdown, and when the chicks grew up and people realised that they were in fact male, they turned to seeking new homes for them due to noise complaints or aggression among other cockerels.
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Since January 1 2021, we've had 313 animal rehoming requests, with 12 per cent of those being cockerels.
Why is the sanctuary so important?
- 1 Harold Wood fatal stabbing victim named as police arrest three more people
- 2 Serial child sex offender jailed after found with 14,000 indecent images
- 3 Family of Harvey Tyrrell campaigning for stricter pub safety laws
- 4 'No one deserves that': Neighbours 'traumatised' by triple stabbing
- 5 Man jailed for drug offences and violent assaults in Romford flat
- 6 Arrests made after multiple stabbing in Havering
- 7 Memorial bench at hospital honours 'well-loved' medic
- 8 Petition launched by family of Harvey Tyrrell soars to 40,000 signatures
- 9 CCTV cameras to enforce new lorry ban through Rainham village
- 10 One teenager dead in Harold Hill double stabbing
We're home to over 500 animals who have come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have suffered horrific abuse and neglect, others were simply unwanted pets or who out-lived their owners.
Hopefield Animal Sanctuary is funded solely by donations, and we receive no government funding. The majority of our income is generated through being open to the public, and without raising these vital funds, the future of the sanctuary would remain uncertain.
How have the past few months been as the sanctuary was closed - has it struggled?
It has been incredibly difficult for the sanctuary during the pandemic - as previously mentioned, the majority of our income is generated through visitor income, and without this, we had to change our fundraising methods.
We successfully applied for a few grants, and whilst we were lucky enough to fall into the leisure and hospitality sector which allowed us to claim some government funding, we have received nothing based on the fact that we're an animal charity.
We also had to stop volunteers from being on site for a number of months over the winter, and were running on our core team of staff (less than 10 people). Everyone pulled together and worked so hard to ensure our animals received the best level of care, despite the challenges they faced.
What are you most looking forward to as restrictions ease?
We're looking forward to having visitors back on site again as it's amazing to see the connections that people make with our animals.
We're hoping that we'll be able to host events (to some extent) later on in the year as well, as we have not been able to hold a fun day since September 2019, which feels like a lifetime ago.