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The Blue Cross is planning a new purpose-built equine centre in Staffordshire to help increase its facilities for welfare support and rehabilitation in the Midlands area.

The new centre will be located at Sunnymead Farm, Rolleston, which was bequeathed to the animal welfare charity in 1999. Once complete, the centre will have stabling and loose housing facilities for 35-40 horses, plus an outdoor arena and lunging area, staff facilities and a reception building.

Kerstin Alford, Blue Cross director of equine welfare, says: “The Blue Cross always aims to rehome horses after they have completed their rehabilitation and these new facilities will enable us to help more horses find appropriate new homes.”

The current planning permission runs out in March 2004 but an extension has been applied for and the initial work on the new development is expected to begin early next year.

“The new centre will be a workmanlike facility to provide us with extra space to help more horses and to enable us to continue our important educational work with members of the public in a new area of the country,” continues Kerstin.

The Blue Cross already has two existing equine centres at Burford, Oxon and Northiam, East Sussex, which can cater for around 90 horses between them at any one time.

For more information about the work of the Blue Cross visit: www.bluecross.org.uk