Posted: 29.09.21 at 11:50 by The Editor
Hundreds of Conwy tenants and their families took a walk on the wild side at a zoo thanks to the generosity of a housing association.
After hearing the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay was struggling for survival during the pandemic, Cartrefi Conwy bought 500 tickets for tenants for a fun day out at the popular tourist attraction.
Cartrefi Conwy joined forces with community action group Together for Colwyn Bay and the zoo to organise the event.
Among those enjoying the sunshine was 10-year-old Jasmine Abdel Khalek and her four-year-old brother Omar, together with mum Emma and dad Hany from Kinmel Bay.
Jasmine was thrilled when she won the organised treasure hunt.
"I'm hoping I get a prize", she said.
Mum Emma added: "I think it’s been a great day. The children love being outdoors. They've been running wild and having fun.
“I'm really pleased to see so many people here enjoying themselves. I remember coming here as a child, and it would have been such a shame if it had to close."
Cartrefi Conwy’s managing director Katie Clubb, who was attending with her three-year-old son, Charlie, agreed.
"All families, our tenants included, were stuck indoors for so long during lockdown," she said.
"Some very young children have just not been able to get out and enjoy this kind of attraction until recently and it's fantastic to see them outside, racing around and laughing.
"I know Charlie has really loved seeing the cheeky monkeys up close.”
Katie hopes there will be a lasting legacy to the fun weekend.
"One of our tenants here today, a mother with a young daughter, told me she was so impressed with the event and the zoo, her daughter was now planning to work here as a volunteer. That's a great outcome for the zoo and us."
Things were looking bleak for the zoo at the height of the Covid-19 restrictions when visitors were not allowed to come, cutting off the zoo’s income.
Charlotte Dykes, the zoo’s marketing manager, explained: "The zoo charity’s running costs whilst we were closed were more than £100,000 a month.
"Combine that with lost income whilst we were closed, and the crisis we found ourselves in was the worst the zoo has ever faced in its 58-year history.
Along with the support from Cartrefi Conwy, the zoo has welcomed donations from other local groups and organisations.
"We've had a lot of community support, and we are very appreciative," said Charlotte.
"Local residents have been organising food donations and collections during the tough times, and now the zoo is open again and busier than ever. So we wanted to organise a community day to thank everyone."
But according to Charlotte, the zoo has bounced back after the difficulties of lockdown.
"With more people staying home and taking staycations, our footfall is right back to pre-pandemic numbers," she said.
"It's great to see so many families here enjoying themselves."
Managing director Katie Clubb said: "We all know it’s been a really tough time for lots of local businesses.
“As part of our commitment to delivering social value at Cartrefi Conwy, we are keen to support local businesses recovering following the pandemic and we are really proud to be supporting the zoo in this way.”
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