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Ape sanctuary secures emergency funding

An animal sanctuary in the Brecon Beacons is preparing to re-open in good health, following support from Lloyds Bank and the general public.

Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary, which is home to more than 200 rescued animals, has secured £50k of emergency funding via the government’s Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan scheme for small businesses. The loan, provided by long-standing banking partner Lloyds Bank, will provide a long-term safety net for the charity alongside ongoing fundraising activity as it continues to meet basic running costs of £25k a month.

In addition to meeting the welfare needs of the sanctuary’s animals, which include more than 100 exotic primates rescued from across the UK, Europe and the Middle East, the funding will enable the family-run charity to implement social distancing initiatives for when it is eventually able to re-open. As well as funding the building of paths to create new routes around the sanctuary, it is hoped that the Bounce Back funding will help offset the cost of new capacity restrictions and the temporary closure of the sanctuary’s dining facilities.

Prior to becoming a charity in 1998, Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary operated as a residential centre for educational visits. After rescuing its first chimpanzees following the closure of the Penscynor wildlife park in Neath, it has since grown to attract 30,000 visitors a year.

Jan Garen, owner of Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary, said: “The enforced closure during the lockdown has been a real challenge due to the nature of our day-to-day overheads – you can’t simply put looking after animals on hold. We’ve been taken aback by the support of the general public, Moondance Foundation, business owners and even food banks who have engaged with our fundraising efforts. There is no chance of the animals going hungry.

“However, having Lloyds Bank step in to assist has given us the headroom to prepare for re-opening safely and the arrival of new animals. Last year, our team clocked almost 15,000 miles rescuing animals from far and wide, and I’m hopeful we’ll still be in a position to do so as restrictions are eased in the long-term.”

James Weaver, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “Jan and her husband Graham have dedicated the last 30 years of their lives to developing a safe haven for exotic and domestic animals in need of rescue. Alongside caring for the animals, the sanctuary benefits the local economy and is driving important education initiatives around animal welfare.

“Their lockdown experience has been unique but they will continue to face the same challenges as other organisations implementing social distancing as they re-open. As such, we will continue to be by their side through whatever the pandemic brings.”

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