STAFF at a Sedgley animal sanctuary are appealing for help to care for their animals as the coronavirus crisis has decimated the sanctuary's income.

Brockswood Animal Sanctuary, based in Cotwall End, would have opened last weekend under normal circumstances for its Spring season, but has been forced to close its doors until further notice due to the pandemic.

As a not-for-profit organisation the sanctuary has been left with no income to help fund the care of the 450 animals who call the sanctuary home.

But in an impressive display of dedication, staff have moved into the site at Cotwall End so they can keep safe from the virus and stay well to continue looking after the hundreds of animals at Brockswood.

Neil Swan, director of the facility, said: "We would have opened on Saturday after kids would have broken up. The Easter holidays are the biggest two weeks of the year for us, we're going to miss that.

"The added problem is we can't furlough staff. Furloughed staff can't do any work for the organisation, but we have staff that have to come in. There's no way around this."

With no money coming in and animals requiring care, the sanctuary has launched a Just Giving page to raise much needed funds which has so far raised £2,625.

Neil said it costs up to £2,500 a week to run the sanctuary to pay for bills and supplies such as animal food, bedding, cleaning and medication for some of the animals who are unwell.

Neil told the News: "Unfortunately the future is looking bleak. It looks like we're going to lose most of our income from the summer. We're going to be right at the bottom of the companies to reopen when the lockdown ends.

"We can't close, we can't furlough. There's no savings we can make in any shape or form.

"All staff have moved in. We've got a couple of people going off site to get supplies but keeping well clear of us on site. We have created some sleeping areas in the meeting room and classrooms."

He said the crisis has hit the animal care sector around the country particularly hard as money has dried up but animals still need daily care.

He added: "It's difficult for everyone but the animal care sector is facing the rough end. It's not right for thousands of animals who need to be look after properly."

Neil has however been touched by the help the sanctuary has received from the community, and paid particular thanks to staff at Asda, Morrisons and Sainsburys who have donated free fruit and vegetables for the animals.

The team are also uploading videos of their charges on Facebook everyday so people can see how their sponsored animals are getting on and they will also be creating educational content for youngsters home from school on their website.

Anyone who wishes to make a donation of food for the animals should contact the team on Facebook to arrange a drop-off.