Over the past 11 years, Feathers and Fur Falconry Centre has been the go to place to spend time with family and friends, were people can fall in love with our beautiful birds of prey, whether it be on one of our experiences sessions or just to see the birds in a visit to the centre for free. The core value of the centre is always environmental education and passionate love for birds using a range of stunning British species such as the Kestrel and Barn Owl. To us the birds are family and over the years individual characters have become part of our friends and followers family too, falling in love with our wonderful matriarchal European Eagle Owl Billie Jean and Acer our Peregrine falcon is a memorable high-speed chap on a half-day session and many many people have stood in awe and wonder as Norman our rescue owl Hoots back at you!!
Covid-19 had a massive impact on everyone this year including ourselves. We lost all our group bookings such as brownies and scouts, along with all the school booking through until Christmas. However, I was very proud that we were able to keep going and manage through the lockdown. To ensure that the birds were flown and everyone kept in top condition we kept our full-time member of staff on all through lockdown and invested time and money improving the falcons mews, the footpath, we repainted EVERYTHING!!!, purchased new signage and banners, bought and sorted the plants and started to invest in stock for a new shop and really just ensured that when we opened to the public again we were in the best possible condition we could be. All without any help, just using our savings and our own money. It was worth it, when we opened, people came and just enjoyed being outside and we were so busy it was wonderful and we were very very happy.
But then…….the worse news we have ever received as a business came at the beginning of September.
Ladds Garden Village, the site we have called home for 11 years has been taken over by an investment company and we have been served notice. We have been given 3 months to finish our experiences sessions, and then we have to leave. For 11 years, 7 days a week, I have worked to create a centre that people love to visit and now we have been told to tear down all of the aviaries, rip out all the fencing and get rid of all the beautiful plants we have worked so hard to shape into a beautiful home for our feathered family.
After an amazing response to our call for help in locating a new site, we are very very pleased to tell you we are moving to Moss End Garden Village in Bracknell. But now the hard work starts. Our funds are only enough to keep the rent paid (oh yes we still have to pay rent at Ladds even though we are being asked to leave !), birds fed and Olivia paid. They won’t cover the massive investment we have to put into the new site. Although we plan to take most of the aviaries, plants and signs, there are such huge costs involved in both moving and creating a new site.
Below are just a handful of the costs….
– no income for 3 months of being closed and unable to do any sessions or off-site sessions
– new roofing, the old stuff will be too damaged when we take the aviaries apart
– new netting
– 5 New aviaries as we need somewhere to put the initial birds moving over
– new fencing, the old stuff is cemented into the ground at Ladds, plus new fencing around the new site.
– the cost of lifting and transporting the classroom, we can’t afford to build a new one
– paint for the new fences and aviaries
– new gravel for pathways
– new signage with new site details
– reprinting of all Leaflets, gift vouchers, headed paper and comp slips (all with the old address!!)
– New site deposit
…this is just the start of the list.
Lots of Love Sadie, Olivia, Jamie, all the volunteers, Beth, Tilly, Billie Jean, Norman, Gimli, Charlie, Ash, Pudding, Bert, Bailey, Dobby, Amos, Pip and Squeak, Bourneville, Nala, Mouse, Lucy, Acer, Arya, Echo, Milo, Rossi, Alice and Sam.