Volunteer Esme Fordham with Molly. Credit: Remus Horse Sanctuary

Volunteers from Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex say volunteering has helped them cope during the pandemic.

The Ingatestone-based sanctuary provides lifetime care for horses, ponies, donkeys, goats, sheep and cats who have experienced physical and mental abuse. They specialise in caring for elderly and blind horses.

“Our work at the sanctuary is often likened to that of a hospice – giving these animals, most of which are survivors of the most horrendous cruelty, the very best of care,” said Founder of the Sanctuary, Sue Burton.

“We want to allow the younger animals to get over their abuse and develop into happy adults; whilst the older animals get to spend their twilight years doing as they wish.”

Ms Burton said her volunteers also find salvation at the sanctuary.

“We may be saving animals, but many of our volunteers tell me that it saved them too,” she said. “They all report such a positive impact on their health and wellbeing – animals have long been an extraordinary source of comfort in a time of anxiety and uncertainty, but even more so during the pandemic”.

Flint. Credit: Remus Horse Sanctuary

Sue said the sanctuary has seen an increase in volunteer enquiries since the outbreak of Covid-19. Sadly, she believes they will also see an increase in animal welfare issues and has already seen several horses abandoned during the pandemic because people cannot afford to look after them.

The sanctuary is currently fundraising to raise £12,000 to build four new field shelters, and recently joined the Essex Lottery to help reach this goal.

“We joined Essex Lottery about four months ago – if Covid-19 has taught us anything it’s the importance of staying local and investing in local,” added Sue.

“That really was the main appeal for us to sign up as a good cause. It was also incredibly easy and there were no sign-up costs”.

Since its launch in November 2017, the Essex Lottery has donated over £268,000 to good causes across the county, like Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary.

Tickets cost just £1 a week with the player’s chosen cause receiving 50p. 10p is distributed to other local good causes and 20p goes back into the prize pot. Each ticket has a 1 in 50 chance to win a prize each week.

Holly with foal. Credit: Remus Horse Sanctuary

Our local good causes always go above and beyond to support communities across Essex,” said Kirsty O’Callaghan, Head of Strengthening Communities at Essex County Council.

“But over the last year we have been especially overwhelmed by how they have gone that extra mile, despite facing their own challenges due to fundraising events being cancelled. At a time when they need it most you can help make a big difference by playing the Essex Lottery”.

Click here to support Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary through the Essex Lottery.

Your Horse’s Key Worker Awards recognises and rewards equestrian heroes for their tireless work in an essential role during the coronavirus pandemic.

Be sure to submit your nomination by Friday 5pm (26 March).