Staff and volunteers at a Bromsgrove animal sanctuary have been left "devastated" after being told to leave their shop just two weeks after opening. 

The Healing Horse Sanctuary opened a fundraising shop, Gifts of Love, at 97 High Street on February 2 to help raise vital funds to support its horses in Burcot. 

The charity, which cares for horses and ponies across Worcestershire and beyond, spent months renovating the site but is now looking for a new home after the terms of their contract meant another charity, Primrose Hospice, is now "actively pursuing" the lease.  

Halesowen News: Susie Gessey outside the shop with councillor Sam Ammar Susie Gessey outside the shop with councillor Sam Ammar (Image: Susie Gessey)

Founder Susie Gessey, aged 55, said: "I found out the day before we were meant to open the shop. We only got the keys at the start of November and had renovated the site with a new kitchen and electrics. 

"I was contacted by the lettings agent who said they wanted to come and view the shop. I was naïve and didn't realise what was happening until the other charity turned up. 

"I was devastated and just burst into tears. I was in so much shock as we had this shop to help raise money for the sanctuary. We had plans for craft workshops and meditation sessions. We put all our eggs in one basket and it's been such a blow." 

After fearing the charity could be forced to close for good, the team are now trying to raise funds to support their animals with a long-term plan to open another shop in the future. 

To do this, the team are hosting a raffle and looking into grant opportunities and business partnerships to help keep the sanctuary running. 

The sanctuary is also offering the opportunity to sponsor a horse in the hope of creating a more stable monthly income for the organisation. 

Halesowen News: The team remain focused on looking after the horses The team remain focused on looking after the horses (Image: Susie Gessey)

Ms Gessey said: "Our focus is on the horses at the moment and making sure they have everything they need, but we are open to moving to another shop. 

"The problem is the cost as a lot of high street shops are really expensive so anyone who can help offer us a deal or give us advice would be really appreciated. We also have a raffle going on at the shop at the moment where people can win a cake, watercolour or hamper.  

"The support we've had so far has been overwhelming and we're so grateful. It's been a really emotional time. It was a traumatic experience so to have all this love from our supporters has been amazing. It's really beautiful."

The Healing Horse Sanctuary has emphasised the importance of being kind to the other charity on social media with plans to sit down and talk with Primrose Hospice soon. 

Ms Gessey added: "Social media can be a great place but it can also be really damaging. I don't want conflict, I just want everyone to clear the air and for us all to support one another. 

"The work we do as charities is in the aim of helping the community and we need to keep that love and desire to help others at the forefront of everything we do.

"Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us over the past few days. We appreciate all the support and it's been lovely to see the community come together." 

Halesowen News: The news came as a shock to the staff and volunteers The news came as a shock to the staff and volunteers (Image: Susie Gessey)

In a statement on Facebook, a spokesperson for Primrose Hospice said: "We are genuinely sorry to hear about the situation that the Healing Horse Sanctuary find themselves in.

"Primrose Hospice has acted with honesty and integrity throughout this process including asking the letting agent to inform their tenant of advanced negotiations with us, 6 weeks before their shop opened.

"The Hospice also looked at the charity let option for this unit but did not pursue it, as with the 28 days notice clause, the prospect of a long-term let under these terms and conditions was minimal and any investment was not viable for us."

The charity did not wish to make any further comments when approached. 

Halesowen News: Supporters can sponsor a horse Supporters can sponsor a horse (Image: Susie Gessey)

To donate to the Healing Horse Sanctuary fundraiser visit 

To sponsor a horse visit

For more information or to offer help contact the Healing Horse Sanctuary at