#CoronaChronicles: Week Seven

Almost two months in and, like everyone, we’re counting the cost of the coronavirus lockdown.

Being 100% funded by donations, and with 1,500 rescued horses and donkeys relying on us every day, we’ve always been very financially prudent and made provisions for extraordinary situations.

However, little could we have predicted that a human pandemic would be the situation to pitch us into one of the most challenging periods in our history.

While our forward planning leaves Redwings in the best position possible to weather the current storm, if predictions about the ongoing economic impact of coronavirus are even partly true, then we are likely to face a funding deficit.

Being a larger charity doesn’t make you immune. The bigger the herd, the bigger the challenge and, while we know many people are facing their own trials at this difficult time, we would ask anyone who can to consider making a donation to our emergency coronavirus appeal.

Please click here to read more about the appeal and the ways you can donate. 

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The soaring price of disinfectant has impacted our costs.

Here’s a rundown of how the outbreak has been impacting our fundraising:

  • Having to close our visitor centres, including our gift shops and cafes, will result in lost income of over £150,000 if the lockdown extends to the end of June, rising to over £350,000 if the situation continues into September.
  • Some supporters are less able to donate as they start to feel the impact on their own finances, and community fundraising income has decreased as events are cancelled.
  • Meanwhile, our internal welfare costs have risen by 11%. Expenditure on internal welfare is one of Redwings’ greatest direct charitable costs and includes feed, forage and the running of our Horse Hospital. For example, the cost of antibacterial gel cleanser – essential when caring for horses and to ensure our own frontline workers remain safe – has risen by 136%.
  • The slowdown of the property market and the financial uncertainty across the country impacts on many areas of our income such as legacies, the outcome of which we may not see for many months.
  • While we don’t charge to rehome our horses, having to suspend our Guardianship Scheme at a time when enquiries are usually at their highest means we’re retaining and therefore financing the care of horses in the Sanctuary who we had expected to be in loving new homes by now.
  • As an equine welfare charity, there is limited financial aid available but we do qualify for the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, known as furloughing. To help safeguard our income, we have furloughed over 75 members of staff from our back office operations, including our Finance, Communications and Fundraising teams, as well as our currently closed Visitor Centres. However, with the vast majority of our staff involved directly in the care of our horses, we are limited in the ways we can use this scheme.

While the challenges continue to mount, we have also been incredibly heartened by the response to our emergency appeal so far, as well as the kind donations of hay, feed, rugs and even carrots we’ve received from local businesses – we can’t thank you enough!

Just this week, our headquarters in Norfolk received a sizeable donation of carrots, apples and parsnips from Brakes Foodservice, which were about to go to waste. These make tasty treats for our horses, so our care team has been grating them to put into feeds and to give out with medication for the patients in our Horse Hospital. They even made horse-friendly ice lollies out of them during the recent hot weather!

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Our horses have been enjoying some ice lollies made from donated apples, carrots and parsnips.

We also received an incredible surprise from equine feed producer Spillers, who have donated £2,000 worth of feed to support our horses through the lockdown. Spillers have been supporters of Redwings for many years – our miniature Shetland pony Moses recently featured in promotions for Spillers’ Happy Hoof feed. 

­As well as donating to our emergency appeal, there are many ways you can support Redwings – even from the comfort of your own home! Click here to find out how you can get involved and ensure we can continue to give our rescued horses and donkeys all the care they need. Thank you #RedwingsAngels.

Read last week’s #CoronaChronicles here.