British equine charity Redwings has announced a major expansion centred around a merger with Scotland’s Mountains Animal Sanctuary.
Redwings has also confirmed it is in advanced merger talks with the Welsh charity SWHP (the Society for the Welfare of Horses and Ponies) and is in the planning stages for a centre in Wales.
The July merger will see the Scottish charity taking the name Redwings Mountains.
It is based near Forfar, in Angus, and was formed by the late Alan Fraser in 1982 and registered as a charity in 1984, the same year as Redwings.
It is currently home to 98 rescued horses, ponies and donkeys on 220 acres.
Redwings is currently the largest horse sanctuary in Britain, with 1300 horses in its care at nine sites across England. However, it is already conducting rescues right across Britain, including Wales and Scotland. It also offers support to smaller horse charities in Ireland.
It described the merger as a meeting of minds of two horse welfare charities that each provided rescue, sanctuary, rehabilitation and where possible rehoming for animals in need.
It said Mountains was seeking a secure future after 30 years of dedicated welfare work, and its trustees had been working with Redwings trustees and its chief executive to ensure their horses, donkeys and staff can join the Redwings family.
It is anticipated that the merger will be concluded officially within the next two weeks.
Redwings chief executive Lynn Cutress said the charity was thrilled to merge with Mountains Animal Sanctuary.
“As with any merger, the devil is in the detail and we would like to thank their staff and ours who have all been so supportive throughout and are excited about what the future holds.
“The timing is right for Redwings in our 30th year to expand our horizons over the border and we look forward to meeting the local community and of course being in a position to help even more horses in desperate need.”
The chairman of Mountains’ trustees, Ian Hunter, said he and his fellow trustees were delighted with the merger.
“We are confident that the work of our founder can be continued with the support of this highly respected equine charity, and that the welfare needs of horses, ponies and donkeys in Scotland will be met thanks to the caring and compassionate ethos of the Redwings Mountains staff and volunteers.”
Redwings said its advanced merger discussions with SWHP was with a view to Redwings formally expanding its work in Wales and securing a centre there for Redwings.