How has COVID-19 affected Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries?

The COVID-19 crisis has affected all areas of our organisation, from our fundraising activities right through to our education and outreach programmes.

Animal Care Team

Covid-19 has had a massive impact on our core animal care team here at Goodheart. We have had to put stringent procedures into place to ensure our essential workers stay safe and healthy and are able to continue caring for our 370 rescued animals.  

Some of the challenges they face include: 

  • Routine tasks are now more challenging and time-consuming, as we must regularly disinfect our tools and equipment to keep everyone safe, while larger tasks requiring two or more staff working closely together are much trickier to carry out when adhering to social distancing measures. This all adds up to mean a tiring day for our hardworking team.  
  • Our animal carers really are our essential workersand so if a member of the team becomes sick, we lose them for two weeks as they are unable to work from home. A lack of volunteer support also means more essential work for our staff members.  
  • Booking veterinary visits and picking up medication has also become more difficult for us. Vets are now based at home rather than at the surgery, meaning we cannot simply walk into our veterinary surgery to pick up medication. With the latest lockdown announced, it may also become harder for us to order things like feed or equipment from our usual suppliers.  
  • Finally, we have noticed that some of our friendliest animals such as Micky the sheep and Gizmo the pig are missing regular interaction with the public. What with our staff working tirelessly around the clock, sometimes it’s difficult to find time to give each individual animal the fuss and attention they seek.  

Outreach & Education

The pandemic has also had a massive impact on our ability to welcome school children and local community groups to our sanctuary. This has created challenges for our Outreach and Education Department. Including: 

  • Lockdown measures have meant that any school trips or workshops have had to be cancelled. After the first lockdown, we were able to welcome visitors back again, but in order to protect the health and safety of our core animal care team, we put restrictive guidelines in place so that only small groups of 6 from the same bubble could attend. Prior to COVID-19, we could welcome classes of up to 30 students, which means that we are only able to offer our educational workshops to a fifth of the total that we would usually anticipate. 
  • Although, like the rest of the country, we felt that another lockdown may be on the horizon, we were still just as saddened following the most recent government announcement on the 31st of October.  As a result of this, we have had to cancel our newly launched Group Visits, which were set up to allow small groups of visitors back to the sanctuary this winter. This is especially sad given the hard work that went into making these possible, as well as for the animals themselves, who have loved greeting visitors again over the last few weeks. 
  • With teachers under intense pressure to get their students up to speed with everything that they may have missed during lockdown, many schools do not have the time or capacity to organise field trips. Sadly, this means that even when lockdown was lifted, we have seen a drop in the number of schools visiting our site over the past six months.   
  • Our week of animal assisted therapy which was kindly supported by The National Lottery Celebrate 25 fund has had to be postponed until it is safe to carry out. This means that local disabled children are sadly missing out on the opportunity to connect with our rescued residents.  


Though they are more vital than ever before, our fundraising efforts have also been hindered this year.

  • When lockdown was announced, one of the biggest blows was having to cancel events such as our Open Days, which are a major source of income for our small sanctuary. We also don’t know if future events such as our 2021 Goodheart Gala will be able to take place.

  • This year, we were very excited to attend the Birmingham Vegan Festival for the first time. We put a lot of effort into planning for this event, where we aimed to engage more people with Goodheart and further encourage donations and visits to our sanctuary. Sadly, this event was cancelled and we don’t know if the 2021 festival will be able to take place.


  • Completely understandably, we have also seen a drop in regular donations, as many people face financial uncertainty as a result of the crisis. Regular donations allow us to plan for the future and continue helping more animals in need.