Animal sanctuary's £150k drive for new home as demand soars

Lora Steggles with her ewe, Angelica Lambsbury, who has been nominated for two Animal Star Awards. P

Lora Steggles with her ewe, Angelica Lambsbury, which inspired her to start Angelica's Rainbow Sanctuary on Hellesdon Road, Norwich, in 2016. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

An animal sanctuary which helps improve people's mental health needs a new home and funds to secure its future.

Angelica's Rainbow Sanctuary, on Hellesdon Road, Norwich, cares for 42 animals, including sheep, ponies, rabbits, guinea pigs, hens, a bearded dragon and stick insects.

Some of the animals cared for at Angelica's Rainbow Sanctuary on Hellesdon Road, Norwich.

Some of the animals cared for at Angelica's Rainbow Sanctuary on Hellesdon Road, Norwich. - Credit: Lora Steggles

Before lockdown it supported people including the unemployed, vulnerable, retired and hard to reach adults to help their mental health and physical wellbeing,

Lora Steggles, 36, from Norwich's Marlpit area, near the sanctuary, who set up the not-for-profit enterprise in 2016, was forced to close the centre to all but two volunteers because she has complex mental health disabilities and wanted to stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

But the reduced team had to continue caring for the animals and Miss Steggles needs to raise £150,000 to find a larger site by the end of this year, when the sanctuary needs to leave Hellesdon Road.

A lamb at Angelica's Rainbow Sanctuary on Hellesdon Road in Norwich.

A lamb at Angelica's Rainbow Sanctuary on Hellesdon Road in Norwich. - Credit: Lora Steggles

The centre, which will partially reopen to visitors and its volunteers on May 17, also needs to raise £500 a month to continue.

Miss Steggles said: "The effect animals have on humans is amazing.

"We have outgrown the site and are desperately fundraising. We are looking for land in Norwich because one of the bonuses of being based in the city is people can still access us if they cannot afford to travel.

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"The demand for animal placements has gone up."

Poppy the Christmas Unicorn getting ready for Angelica's Rainbow event at Marlpit Community Centre.

Poppy the Christmas unicorn getting ready for a Angelica's Rainbow Sanctuary event at Marlpit Community Centre before the coronavirus pandemic. - Credit: Lora Steggles

The sanctuary is currently based on one acre but the 36-year-old said it ideally needs 10 acres.

In order to save money, she has stopped paying wages to the small team of employees but during the pandemic it missed out on government funding.

She added: "Before lockdown we used to get £500 a month in regular donations but now we are getting £30 a month because people are facing financial struggles. It is desperate."

The 36-year-old was inspired to set up the sanctuary after looking after an orphaned lamb, called Angelica, while working on a farm which helped her health conditions.

She said the work Angelica's Rainbow Sanctuary does is unique in Norfolk.

A volunteer enjoying the benefits of looking after animals at Angelica's Rainbow Sanctuary on Hellesdon Road, Norwich.

A volunteer enjoying the benefits of looking after animals at Angelica's Rainbow Sanctuary on Hellesdon Road, Norwich. - Credit: Lori Steggles

To donate for the big move appeal, general running costs appeal or for details on activity and volunteering sessions at the sanctuary visit www.angelicasrainbow.org.uk



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