The Member of Parliament for Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish, visited our main headquarters in Sidmouth on 30 August to discover why it’s a leading visitor destination.

Mr Parish’s visit came at the end of a bumper summer that saw visitor numbers to the charity’s headquarters increase by 18% compared with last year. The increase in visitors is largely down to the charity opening a new visitor centre and a 220-seater restaurant, The Kitchen, this year. 

Neil Parish MP, hosted by the charity’s CEO Mike Baker, enjoyed a guided tour of the main Slade House Farm site and visited the new restaurant and visitor centre and met some of the rescued donkeys. 
Mr Baker said: “We were delighted to welcome Neil Parish MP back to The Donkey Sanctuary. Mr Parish has been a long-standing advocate for animal welfare, both here in the UK and internationally. His animal welfare work has been inspiring and Neil has a proven track record of helping The Donkey Sanctuary in times of need. In 1999 he helped us actively lobby against the live transportation of donkeys in Eastern Europe and just last year he attended the launch of our much-needed new veterinary hospital.”  

Mr Baker continued: “This visit has brought Mr Parish up to speed with our ambitious plans for the next five years and on the anniversary of our 50th year in operation since we were founded by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen. Millions of donkeys desperately need our help around the world and I explained our aims, including vital projects to alleviate the suffering of working donkeys in international communities and developing our site here at Sidmouth in the interests of our rescued donkeys, our visitors, local conservation and the regional economy.”

Neil Parish MP said: “It was great to meet with Mr Baker and learn even more about the charity and its ambition to transform the welfare of donkeys and mules across the world.”

Mr Parish continued: “The Donkey Sanctuary has long been part of our community as a major employer, leading visitor destination and steward of East Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I look forward to celebrating their 50th anniversary with them next year and offer them my best wishes in launching a successful new five-year plan in 2019.”

Our Sidmouth sanctuary is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm. Admission and parking are free and dogs are welcome. All proceeds go towards our work in the community and worldwide.