Hatfield alpaca farmers, nursery teachers and hairdressers struggle with no government support

PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 May 2020

Meadow Field Alpacas is appealing for help during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Meadow Field Alpacas.

Meadow Field Alpacas is appealing for help during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Meadow Field Alpacas.

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Hairdressers, alpaca farmers and nursery teachers from Hatfield have not been successful at applying for furlough and business relief during the pandemic.

Meadow Field Alpacas is appealing for help during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Meadow Field Alpacas. Meadow Field Alpacas is appealing for help during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Meadow Field Alpacas.

In September 2019, Robyn Pewsey-Smith set up an alpaca business, which makes homemade products from their fleeces and is a petting zoo, with her mum Judith.

The business was just about breaking even before the pandemic but having to shut up shop has taken its toll. Robyn is now struggling and has not found a government loan that can keep her Meadow Field Farm in Wheathampstead going.

She hopes donations will fill the gap and help her purchase feed, hay, maintain the area, pay rent and prepare for unexpected vet bills.

“As anyone else with animals will know, these things don‘t come cheap,” Robyn said.

Meadow Field Alpacas is appealing for help during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Meadow Field Alpacas. Meadow Field Alpacas is appealing for help during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Meadow Field Alpacas.

She added that what upsets her the most is not being able to provide days-out for special needs children.

“Its so calming for them and has such a great effect on their well-being.”

Similarly, Footsteps 123 Nursery based at Jim McDonalds is unable to avail the Government furlough scheme for its staff, who have been left destitute by the crisis.

The nursery said they have been forced to turn to family, friends and parents to pay wages and the nursery’s running costs.

Meadow Field Alpacas is appealing for help during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Meadow Field Alpacas.Meadow Field Alpacas is appealing for help during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Meadow Field Alpacas.

Aimee-Louise McHutchison, a hairdresser, has also found herself outside the coronavirus job retention scheme as she left her previous employment on February 29 and started her latest job on March 3.

She said: “I have worked full time for seven years, since I was 15, building my way up in my hairdressing career.”

But she explained that because she was not on her new boss’s pay roll in February, furlough is not an option.

So Aimee-Louise returned to her old boss, who said no to rehiring her – which would allow her to get furlough – and so she is now applying for universal credit.

Meadow Field Alpacas is appealing for help during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Meadow Field Alpacas. Meadow Field Alpacas is appealing for help during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Meadow Field Alpacas.

“It is humiliating going back to an old place of work, when you have left to work somewhere else.

“So many people like me who are taxpayers have been left behind.”

You can donate through Go Fund Me to the Alpacas and nursery here gofundme.com/footsteps-123-nursery-covid-19-support

and here gofundme.com/meadowfieldalpacas.


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