Staff, volunteers and trustees from the Moorland Mousie Trust which runs the Exmoor Pony Centre at Ashwick near Dulverton in Somerset, are celebrating an astounding achievement as their crowdfunding campaign draws to a close.
|Caption: Volunteer Doulla Aebli with Knightoncombe Eric. Credit: Kali Green|
The 42 day appeal has seen the charity raise a staggering £35,000, exceeding the initial target by several thousand pounds thanks to the generosity of more than 880 people. The Centre is now safe until the end of the year and the staff and trustees can now focus on plans for its long-term survival. Centre Manager, Linzi Green explained: “When we launched the appeal we were so desperate for funds to prevent the Centre from closing. it really was a make or break situation. We are totally overwhelmed by the response and are so grateful to everyone who has donated. However we still desperately need funding to ensure the future of the charity and of the many Exmoor ponies we care for. ”
Trustee Juliet Rogers has been amazed by the public’s support, “It has been wonderful to see people from all over the world, of all ages and backgrounds, getting behind our charity and helping us to continue our work taking the unwanted Exmoor ponies who would otherwise have no future.”
The charity's trustees have praised all the volunteers who help to keep the Centre running day to day and have bestowed huge thanks on two volunteers, Gail Cheeseman and Doulla Aebli, who have organised the Crowdfunder campaign and devoted the last six weeks to ensuring the threat of closure no longer hangs over the Exmoor Pony Centre. Sarah Bryan, chief executive of Exmoor National Park Authority said: "Many congratulations to the Exmoor Pony Centre for a fantastic fundraising effort, we are delighted to hear that their target was so comprehensively beaten. It is a testament to the dedication and hard work of a small team of people who care so much about the Exmoor ponies which enliven our landscapes.”
Donations and offers of help have poured into the Centre and fundraising events such as sponsored rides, cake stalls, non-uniform days and pony parties are being organised by supporters throughout the UK. There is still much to achieve before the charity's future can be assured and the fight still goes on for the ponies. Staff and volunteers hope a busy summer will continue to boost funds with revenue from riding sessions, activity days and visitors.
"The real stars of this campaign have been the Exmoor Ponies themselves." said Linzi, "I am sure if they could speak they would like to have the final word and say thanks to everyone for supporting this appeal and giving them, and the Exmoor Pony Centre, a future."