Save New Hope Farm Sanctuary

£3,429 of £10,000 goal

Raised by 136 people in 5 months
We have just been given 8 weeks notice to leave our property with no forewarning and completely out of the blue. This was just after assurances this would not happen in the short term and the fact we have invested a lot of our own money and effort in a property we were told would be our home for at least the next 14 years.

We are trying to raise enough funds to move us and all the sanctuary animals. There is a small window of opportunity - a possible place to move to with enough land but we have only managed to scrape together £6,000 ourselves. We need a large deposit,  six months' rent up front plus all the costs of moving 84 animals and building appropriate enclosures on site when we get there.

We can't do this alone - please read the full story below.

We moved to Suffolk in 2015 and it's fair to say it hasn't been the easiest few years. The one continual bright light was being able to rent this beautiful space - this house, grounds and land, and not just have our 2 rescued Exmoor ponies outside but finally have the smallholding we had always longed for........ Trouble is it didn't really stay a smallholding and in that first year we ended up rescuing 2 more ponies from dire situations and giving sanctuary to several dumped or unwanted pets, poultry and waterfowl including some with extra needs. 

Donald duck with his broken feet, Emma with her broken leg, Diesel duck with his dodgy hips and wet feather, Harold the scrappy, scruffy little cockerel riddled with mites. Misty our beautiful Appaloosa cross with the broken rib and blind eye, Tabitha the Tabby cat, no collar, no chip, skinned paws as if thrown out of a moving vehicle.... dumped literally on our doorstep.... 2 beautiful dogs courtesy of the RSPCA.

From the elderly guinea pigs to Timmy Twelvebellies, the bunny who needed extensive dental surgery, we have done our best to care and love every one of the animals that comes through our door and this year the decision was made to make New Hope Farm a Charitable Company and it has now been incorporated as New Hope Farm Sanctuary Ltd. The company's goals are to provide permanent sanctuary to the rescue animals already in residence and raise funds to improve facilities to hopefully provide sanctuary and rehabilitation for more unwanted pets and livestock in the future.

We had plans for vintage caravans onsite for people to stay, visit the animals, have experience days and residential craft courses.........

But the road hasn't been easy, we had only been here a few months when Rob suffered an industrial accident at work, when an external engineer allowed chlorine gas to fill the basement he was working in. Rob was left with permanent lung damage and 20% disabled and it ended his paid employment as a builder / engineer / maintenance manager. Financially, this had a massive impact but we ploughed on with our Jewellery + Design Studio and Rob started to learn how to work with silver instead of engineering works. We had many tragedies along the way, many battles - personal and otherwise and some very dark days but we still got married on October 28th 2016 surrounded by our family and friends grabbing a few short hours away from the Farm.

In May this year, it became apparent the stresses of the previous 2 years had affected Rob seriously. Burdened with the frustration that neither his former employer nor the engineering company had still admitted any responsibility for the accident and memories of the incident triggering memories of previous time with the Forces, Rob struggled to sleep. Our finances were in a dire situation and although there is a compensation claim pending, over 2 years since the accident this had not seen the inside of a court room (and still hasn't) and until someone admits liability no interim payment can even be requested.

Rob's health declined.

Over a week he experienced several episodes of chest pain which at first the GP dismissed until on the morning of Monday May 29th it became apparent that an ambulance was very urgently required. Rob had 5 heart attacks that week and had an emergency transfer to Papworth hospital. He was released after a week, with no coronary disease found, on huge amounts of blood thinners etc to eliminate any further clots and the diagnosis that the primary cause was almost certainly stress.

We focussed on our animals who are often an inspiration for the jewellery and giftware we make and with Rob making a slow but steady recovery, we thought we were over the worst and that maybe forming the Sanctuary would lead to better and brighter things. We opened our doors to B + B guests and proved a hit with our initial customers. Encouraged by our appeal to a more enlightened generation and other animal lovers, we made excited plans to get the Farm and our business back on track. We thought we had turned a corner, that we could work our way out of the difficult and dark place we had fallen into.....

We were wrong.

On September 13th 2017 there was an incident that I can't discuss as there is a criminal trial pending in April 2018. All I can say is that one of our neighbours was charged with 3 criminal charges, one of which he pleaded guilty to. Rob collapsed with another suspected heart attack that day and I lost more than I can possibly describe.

A few days later I had what I can only describe as some sort of breakdown and for the first time in my life ended up taking prescription drugs for anxiety and the severe panic attacks I was experiencing.

We often describe our family as the 'War Machine' - battle damaged and scarred but still rumbling on. For the first time ever the War Machine was halted in its tracks.

But I have never given up on anything and I wasn't about to start then.

In fact our Landlord released our security deposit on the property - his agent told us this was a gesture of good will as he fully understood what a dreadful time we had been through and that we were good tenants who had easily increased the value of the farm by at least the amount of the deposit with all our repairs and renovations. She completely understood Rob's concerns about accepting this money back but assured him there were no sinister motives, we certainly would not be losing our home and that she understood his concerns about further stress, triggering further hearts attacks and also the effect of recent events on my health.

Bouyed by these additional funds we redoubled efforts to improve the place, made further plans for the Charitable Company and for new products to make in our design studio, we bought a vintage caravan to restore to house future guests.......

And we went to Wood Green Animal Rehoming Centre and adopted an 8 week old puppy to keep our other dog company as he was pining so desperately for his friend and constant companion who he had just tragically lost.

Things finally looked like they were on the up even with the trauma of a criminal trial looming, in which we were all key witnesses and required to testify.

On Saturday 11th November Rob pulled out a letter from our box which caused him to collapse almost as soon as he started reading it.

It was from our Landlord's solicitors giving us 2 months notice to evict.

No reasons were given.

I cannot even begin to describe the fear, panic and lack of comprehension this letter caused...........

We are in an impossible situation. 

We need to find a private rental property with enough land for the ponies and other animals, that allows inside pets and is okay with us running a business from the premises. We also need to fund moving all 84 animals when all we have at the moment is one horse box and a towing vehicle that is probably not going to make it through it's MOT at the end of the month.

All in basically 8 weeks.

With Christmas in the middle of it.

We have BEGGED the Landlord and his solicitors for an extension if only for the sake of Rob's health but to no avail - we have not even been given the courtesy of a reply.

We have found a possible place and have been shortlisted but need the following. I'm not going to lie our credit rating sucks after the last 2 years and with Rob's health problems and me working for myself, so we need more capital upfront to reassure any potential Landlord.

If this place falls through, then from our research, it seems similar costs, if not higher ones (if we are forced to move much further away) will still apply.

£3,750 deposit (a quarter's rent)
£7,500 six months rent upfront
Moving costs, including a livestock trailer and repairs / replacement for our towing vehicle, I estimate £2,500
Materials + help to erect appropriate enclosures and fencing to keep all the animals safe in any new premises, I estimate £1,250

This gives us a total of £15,000 of which we have managed to scrape together £6,000 ourselves.

We need to raise this as soon as possible.

I am not used to asking for anything but we are on our knees. I have to honour my promise to my family and my animals to look after and protect them but this time I just can't do it by myself, time is running out and I need help.

Please donate to ensure New Hope Farm Sanctuary and the animals still have a home this Christmas.
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The property available on a renovation lease, on Belvoir Castle Estate is now ours and we just need to wait for all the legals to be drawn up and signed and the deposit paid before we can start moving everyone onsite. There is a total of 14 acres and though the house is derelict and we will be living in statics until basic renovations are completed there are plenty of stables and sheds for the ponies and poultry! And of course lots of grazing for all and running around room for the pups!!

There are plenty of outbuildings to convert into workshop space or housing and plenty of space for all our current residents and potential to house further rescues in the future.

It is a huge relief but we still need funds to cover moving costs and put towards building a bigger and better New Hope Sanctuary. This includes a lot of fencing to keep everyone secure which is one of the very first jobs on the list!

Please continue to share the fundraiser - we will be posting lots of pics and some vids of the Great Exodus to Leicestershire - as that is where we will now be based.... I'm looking forward to Rob convincing Smithy he needs to get in the horse box ;)

Thank you all for your continued support - we couldn't have done it without you!!
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Well the New Year finds us still in a state of uncertainty. The property we were going to the final interview for, draft contract already drawn up, was yanked from us absolutely last minute when the owner 'changed her mind' about renting it and moved back in herself.

As you can imagine this was incredibly frustrating and threw us into a blind panic the last few weeks desperately trying to find an alternative.

Just before Christmas we found a property available on a 'renovation lease' - rent free for the first year if we can show funds available and the ability to restore the place. It comes with 14 acres and no restrictions on any animals (as well as 17 stables) - giving us plenty of room for everyone and the opportunity to produce our own hay on some of the acreage which would vastly reduce our outgoings.

We submitted a draft proposals and outlined our financials and the agent has put us forward to meet the landlord on January 10th. This is a wonderful opportunity with a fixed term of 5 years for the full renovation, each year's rent dependent on the amount of investment we put into the place. With Rob's maintenance/ builder and project manager background, our family's combined strengths and my land management experience this seems like a perfect opportunity for us and one that can offer some much needed security and stability for the Sanctuary.

Please keep sharing, we need funds more than ever as we need to prove we have a capital sum of at least £15,000 up front of which we only currently have £10,500 despite our best efforts.

The Sanctuary's work continues regardless of the current situation and we continue to care for all the animals. Even today we had to take Donald to our wonderful avian vet with concerns he had a respiratory infection. The X Ray confirmed pneumonia and despite the generous gesture of a half price consultation the X Ray and necessary meds still dip into crucial funds.

Please keep everything crossed for a full recovery for Donald - he is such a wonderful old man, he chaperoned the baby geese last year and then took over the raising of the duck army when they were big enough to go outside. He's such a character, and was so good at the vet just standing and letting them take the X Ray. He is currently on antibiotics and we are nebulising him twice a day. He is very close to everyone's hearts and we have plans to build him a proper pond with a ramp when we move so praying for him to make a full recovery - come on Donald!!
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UPDATE: we have a third and final interview at the potential property on Saturday. As far as the Landlord and Agent are concerned, they are happy with us as potential tenants but the land is actually owned by the Landlord's daughter so she needs to have the final say. If she likes us then things look good! This makes it all the more imperative that we have funds in place to be able to pay the deposit and 6 months rent up front. At the moment we are still over £2000 short of this plus the sudden added complication of our only towing vehicle romping through the MOT, only to have the engine terminally seize only days later. Please share - we are selling everything that isn't nailed down but I just can't do this alone .
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We have just been notified that the Landlord and his agent of the potential property would like to meet us next Tuesday to discuss our application in further detail! We can only assume this means our references etc have passed scrutiny and we are now seriously in the running for the place!!

Thank you to everyone who has shared or donated so far but the clock really is ticking now - we hope to be made an offer to lease the property next week but as it stands, even with the funds we have raised ourselves, we are still at least £2,500 short of the deposit and 6 months rent up front.

Please continue to share, anywhere you can, we cannot afford to lose this opportunity to secure the Sanctuary's future!
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£3,429 of £10,000 goal

Raised by 136 people in 5 months
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