'Plummeting donations' forces HorseWorld to close visitor centre

Horseworld site in Whitchurch The HorseWorld visitor centre in Whitchurch is due to close on Friday

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A horse welfare charity said it has been forced to axe its visitor centre due to "plummeting voluntary donations" and rising numbers of horses in need.

Bristol's HorseWorld, which cares for abandoned horses, said the Whitchurch site will close on Friday.

It follows the rejection by the local authority of a plan to build homes and a new £7m centre funded by the house sales and an increase in tourists.

Objectors opposed the plans as the site is on greenbelt land.

The cash-strapped charity said the decision to close the centre followed a consultation with its 62 staff members. It said no redundancies had been made at this stage.

Managing director Mark Owen said he was "very sad" at the closure but was "optimistic that it might prove possible to turn this negative into a positive".

Mr Owen said the closure may mean it will enable the 60-year old charity to be able to help more horses by concentrating on its "core charitable objectives".

They include the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of horses and of using the horses in work with disadvantaged children and young people.

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