The Petplan Charitable Trust (PPCT) has joined together with World Horse Welfare and the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) to create a Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund.
The purpose of the fund is to help smaller equine welfare organisations across the UK who are being significantly impacted by the current crisis and will go live on Monday 11 May 2020.
All equine welfare organisations have experienced unprecedented financial and operational challenges as a result of the coronavirus crisis. On top of looking after the animals in their care with very limited rehoming possible, they have had to close their centres to visitors, cancel fundraising events and see donations dry up during the ongoing crisis. This can be especially devastating for smaller charities.
Support for the Fund, which was set up at the end of last month with a commitment of £50,000 from PPCT has already raised a further £80,000 from the RSPCA, The Donkey Sanctuary, Redwings, World Horse Welfare and the British Horse Society.
The maximum grant will be £5,000 with the expectation that the average grant will be around £2,500. Grants will be decided by a Committee comprising representatives from NEWC, the supporting charities and an independent member, with PPCT administering the fund.
Applicants need not be NEWC members, but rescue and rehoming of equines should be the primary focus of the organisation. If more applications are received than funds available, priority will be given to NEWC members and those smaller organisations that have not received emergency funding from other emergency funds (eg Support Adoption for Pets Emergency Fund).
David Simpson, Chair of PPCT, stated "The Petplan Charitable Trust has always supported the tremendous work horse rescues perform and we are delighted to work alongside others to help in these difficult times."
Dr Faith Burden, Director of Research and Operational Support said: "The Donkey Sanctuary is pleased to support this collaborative initiative with the PPCT and other equine welfare organisations in the UK. We are acutely aware of the difficulties that many small and medium sized charities providing high quality care to donkeys, mules, horses and ponies across the UK during the Covid-19 crisis. This rescue fund will help to support donkeys and mules to stay in their homes and to safeguard their welfare during this time of change."
Roly Owers, MRCVS, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare said "The current situation, and the economic fallout from the pandemic, will just make a bad situation a whole lot worse. There is no capacity within the UK's equine rescue system so it is vital, as we start to rehome animals again, that we have as many organisations as possible working to support the inevitable tidal wave of welfare cases that will need help over the course of this year.
"We are hugely grateful to our sister charities, including the RSPCA, The Donkey Sanctuary, Redwings and the British Horse Society for supporting the Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund and to the PPCT for agreeing to administer this vital safety net to smaller, but no less important, equine welfare organisations during this extraordinary time.”