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Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Brentwood is reopening to visitors on Friday

The alpacas are excited to have visitors back

An animal sanctuary in Brentwood has announced that it is re-opening this week for the first time since December.

Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, which looks after creatures that have been abused and mistreated, will be welcoming visitors back this Friday.

The charity closes each winter, but was unable to re-open as normal in March due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Due to the prolonged closure, the sanctuary has missed out on some of its vital fundraising activities.

“We’re so pleased that we’re able to have visitors through the gates again,” said the sanctuary’s CEO, Dave Schlaich. “But with social distancing, and the need to reduce the number of people on site at any one time, we’re looking at making just 30% of what we did in the previous year.

“We’re in an okay position at the moment, but when winter comes around and bills increase significantly, that’s when we’re going to be hit the hardest.

“We’re just hoping to maximise our fundraising as much as possible while we can.”

Some of the raccoons at the sanctuary

Among the animals they care for are horses, pigs, cows, sheep, and rabbits, as well as more exotic animals including raccoons, parrots, reptiles, reindeer, and meerkats.

Being a small charity, the sanctuary relies visitors and on donations to continue the vital work that they do in saving animals from lives of abuse, neglect, abandonment, and mistreatment.

The team at the sanctuary has been working tirelessly to ensure that not only are the animals safe and cared for, but their visitors are as well.

Drastic work has gone in to making the site safe, including new fencing to create a one-way system around the whole sanctuary, installing new toilets to prevent queuing, renovating a food van to allow them to serve takeaway food outside, and setting up hand sanitising stations in various locations.

Feeding time for the sheep

There are some key points to note before your visit:
• All tickets must be booked online. Anyone who turns up without booking will not be permitted. This allows Hopefield to manage the number of visitors each day.
• They will not be accepting cash. All payments must be card only.
• Dogs will not be permitted on site (except guide dogs) due to government guidelines.
• Every visitor will have their temperature checked before entering. If you are found to have a high temperature, you will politely be asked to leave, but Hopefield will take your details, and your visit can be rearranged for two weeks later.
• It will not be compulsory for visitors to wear a face mask whilst walking around the sanctuary (although advisory) however, when visiting the Gift Shop and Tea Room it will be mandatory. You will be able to purchase them on site for 50p.

Further information about the re-opening, including the full list of terms & conditions, is available on the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary website.

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