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Yard owner offers free livery to NHS staff during coronavirus crisis

A generous yard owner is showing her support for the NHS by offering free full livery to frontline workers caught up in the coronavirus crisis.

Jess Oakes, who runs The Livery at Springbank Farm in Sandbach, Cheshire, alongside her father Kevin, said seeing many posts from nurses on social media had prompted her to do what she could to help.

She said the offer was open to NHS staff who were struggling to care for their horses throughout this “difficult period”, and she thought it might appeal to workers on DIY livery who could not afford to step up to full.

“It’s a small gesture that we hope will make a positive difference,” she said. “The business is run by myself and my dad in partnership — even though he is non-horsey — and we sat down and thought about what we could do to help. It was a joint idea we thought we would put out to people and see how they responded.”

“We have a couple of stables free at the moment, as we have lost some liveries because they have lost income and moved on,” she added. “It’s a situation that has been affecting a few yards where clients have had to look for somewhere cheaper.”

Jess first mentioned her offer in an email to her liveries last weekend, before posting it on social media, and has already had one response from a frontline nurse at North Staffordshire Hospital.

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Jess’s yard, which usually offers part, full, schooling and assisted DIY livery, is based 10 minutes from Somerford Park and boasts 26 boxes as well as indoor and outdoor schools. They also have a kitchen and lounge area, although they have currently shut these down to maintain social distancing.

Jess said they were always keen to support charities and causes when they could.

“We had a livery with a rare type of cancer who was climbing Kilimanjaro and we supported her with some sponsorship,” she said. “If we think we can offer something, we try to.”

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