An animal rescue charity which faces eviction is set to open up shop in Blackpool town centre.
Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary, which has to leave its site in St Annes by the end of March, hopes its fourth shop will help it raise the £100,000 it needs for new premises.
Staff from the charity are working to convert the former Stitch clothing store in Abingdon Street, and hope to open in the coming days.
Founder Mandy Leigh said: “Every penny we take in our charity shops goes to the sanctuary, so it will go into our savings account.”
The charity has raised £34,000 so far, although it has managed to find temporary accommodation for most of its animals.
Its horses and ponies are set to go to livery yards near Staining and Garstang, while the dogs will be heading to Oakfield Kennels and Cattery in Freckleton, Mandy said. Only four cats now need a home, one of three pigs is heading to Yorkshire while the others are earmarked for new homes. And two parrots also have a new place lined up, she added.
Mandy, 67, said: “At the moment it’s looking like we are getting sorted. We will carry on rehoming the dogs from the boarding kennels.”
Easterleigh, which has rehomed around 22,000 animals in the past 20 years, got an eviction notice following a year-long row over the tenancy at its site off Queensway.
The land was bought for a five-figure sum last Christmas, The Gazette understands. Its new owner issued Easterleigh with a notice to quit – effectively terminating its tenancy, Mandy said.
A subsequent appeal failed and, earlier this month, a court ordered the charity off the land by March 31, she added.
Talks to work out a lease deal or buy the land have so far failed, as has a search for new premises.
The Gazette’s readers were credited with helping Easterleigh rehome its animals after the paper revealed the sanctuary’s plight last month.
Staff - whose jobs are under threat - were left scrambling to find new homes for around 80 animals following the outcome of the court appeal.