SAINT MARY'S HORSE REFUGE
The charity's founder, Digby Saunders, has been taking in horses and ponies for over 25 years. With little help and even less funding, it was time to take action in 2004. That was when we became a registered charity.
A lot of helpers have come and gone through the years, although a few have been there for a long time. It has mainly been children and their parents who have helped out by making donations in return for riding those horses and ponies in our care which were in good health. It was always a struggle to cope with the cost of keeping a growing number of rescued horses, especially through the winter months when there was less help, less money, more needs and more cost. But, we always just about managed to make ends meet. As the years went by, the resident horses were not getting any younger and it was time to take action, because there was bound to be a continuing rise in veterinary bills, feed bills, farrier's costs, dental check-ups and much more.
Fortunately, we were granted charity status by The Charities Commission in 2004. This then enabled us to set up our first charity shop which was opened in Rochford town centre in Essex. This helped immensely with the funding to cover the costs of keeping our rescued horses and it has also given us a great deal of publicity, which in turn, has helped us gain more public donations and best of all, it has provided us with more willing helpers.
Without all of those hard working volunteers, combined with the income from our charity shops and the many kind donations from The Public, things would still look rather bleak - especially during each winter.
We must also thank The Rochford District Council and Southend on Sea Borough Council for their kind support, encouragement and cooperation and especially to thank them for enabling us to gain change of use in the premises, to gain reduced business rates and for the publicity that their help has gained us.
We also thank Essex County Council who gave us permission to run this website on EssexInfo.Net and we thank them for hosting the site.
Although things are starting to improve for our horses and ponies, we are still desperately in need of new fencing and more field shelters. These do not come cheap. But at the moment, things are looking better for our grateful rescues.
Our refuge is located just off Rectory Road and Windsor Gardens in Hawkwell, Essex (behind Saint Mary's Church). Our second refuge site was near Clements Hall but we had to leave those fields. Although, we do have the use of other fields from time to time throughout the area which we need due to the large number of horses and ponies that we now have.
Currently, the land we use for the horses is rented. We would dearly love for the Charity to own its own field. We are solely reliant on our landlords for the use of their land for the shelter of these adorable horses. This is not an ideal situation and unfortunately it is rather expensive. However, we are grateful to our landlords for their kind cooperation and for the use of their fields. We have a long way to go to raise the necessary funds to buy some land of our own somewhere in Rochford District.
We always welcome any donations of clothes, toys, bric-a-brac, household goods and anything else. That means basically anything in good condition that we can sell on.
We now have 6 charity shops and they are : 2 in North Street, Rochford, Essex; 1 in Ashingdon Road, Rochford, Essex; 2 in Sutton Road, Southend on Sea, Essex; 1 in Great Wakering, Essex. Our third shop opened in 2008 and our fourth in 2009 (see the "News" Section), our fifth shop - for furniture opened in 2010. We did open our sixth shop in March 2012 but it had to close in late 2012. Our new sixth shop opened in Ashingdon Road in 2013 when we took over the well known "Many Tears" charity shop for dogs.
Although we are still finding our feet, all six shops are doing really well. Our first shop is very small but the second shop nearby is a lot larger. The third shop is in a good, busy town location in Sutton Road opposite The Victory Sports Ground in Southend on Sea. Our fourth shop is in the village of Great Wakering. Our fifth shop allowed us to accept and sell large goods. Our sixth shop in Leigh on Sea, now closed was in an area renowned for its early maritime heritage, its artists, musicians, the performing arts and drama and antique shops. The new sixth shop is in a busy area near schools with good access and parking - good for dropping off donations. So, we now have more outlets, much more floor space and more storage giving us the opportunity to sell more of everything to more people and we have the ability to accept and sell larger items such as furniture. We have a second and larger van ideal for furniture, so we are pleased with how things are progressing. Our only bad news was the three parking tickets we received, which is a blow to a charity and the puddles and pools left by the heavy rain in 2012 and 2014.
We must mention the hard work, kindness and dedication of our shop staff, helpers, donors and volunteers. We are also very grateful for the kind members of the public who donate and deliver unwanted goods to our shops. We do not know where we would be without all of them and we thank them all from the bottom of our hearts.
St Mary's Shop No. 1 7 North Street, Rochford, Tel. 01702 543583
St Mary's Shop No. 2 43 North Street, Rochford, Tel. 01702 541133
St Mary's Shop No. 3 486 Sutton Road, Southend, Tel. 01702 460865
St Mary's Shop No. 4 86 High Street, Gt. Wakering, Tel. 01702 216588
St Mary's Shop No. 5 482 Sutton Road, Southend, Tel. 01702 460865
St Mary's Shop No. 6 44 Ashingdon Road, Rochford, Tel. 01702 544449
St Mary's Shop No. 5 at 482 Sutton Road opened in the summer of 2010 for "Furniture, Larger Houshold Goods, Dolls Houses and Books".
PLEASE GIVE US YOUR UNWANTED FURNITURE, BEDS, KITCHENGOODS, ELECTRICAL GOODS, COMPUTERS, TVs, ETC. ! We can collect the large items from you free of charge in our van.
Our registered charity number is 1101405.