A NEW emergency fund has been made available to help equine welfare organisations stay afloat during the current pandemic.

Petplan Charitable Trust announced the new 'Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund' this week, joining forces with World Horse Welfare and the National Equine Welfare Council.

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 opportunities for rehoming, they have had to close their centres to visitors, cancel fundraising events and see donations dry up during the ongoing crisis.

For those looking to apply for the new emergency fund, priority will be given to NEWC members and those smaller organisations that have not received emergency funding from other emergency funds (e.g Support Adoption for Pets Emergency Fund). However, not all applicants must be members of NEWC, but rescue and rehoming of equines should be the primary focus of the organisation.

Applicants will be able to claim a maximum grant of £5000 with the expectation that the average grant will be around £2500. Grants will be decided by a Committee comprising representatives from NEWC, the supporting charities and an independent member, with PPCT administering the fund.

Initially the fund was sitting with a £50,000 in the pot from PPCT but it has already raised a further £80,000 from the RSPCA, The Donkey Sanctuary, Redwings, World Horse Welfare and the British Horse Society.

Chair of PPCT, David Simpson, 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.”

Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, Roly Owers, MRCVS, 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 BHS 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,” she concluded.