Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely checked in on the West Wight Alpaca farm last weekend to see how the farm is doing since it reopened.
While he was there, Mr Seely met with the owner of West Wight Alpacas, Neil Payne, and saw how the farm had adapted to the new COVID-19 regulations.
Mr Payne told the Island’s MP that while the farm was pleased to welcome visitors once again, he was concerned about the winter months which would see the end of the furlough scheme and the start of loan repayments.
Mr Payne said:
“Being an animal attraction we can’t just shut the doors, lock up and turn everything off and reduce our costs to virtually nil as others can.
“While we are seeing the number of visitors increase now, we are likely to struggle later on as the autumn draws to a close.
“The winter is going to be the trickiest period for us and other similar business. We will need some serious help in order to survive.”
Mr Seely, who has already championed the cause of some animal attractions in parliament, said:
“Neil runs an excellent farm at West Wight Alpacas, and it was a pleasure to meet him. The team there have everything in place to welcome visitors back and I hope they enjoy a good summer season.
“Having listened to their concerns about the winter months, I am keen to help and have agreed to champion their cause with colleagues in Westminster.
“I can’t emphasise enough just how important it is that we get behind our local businesses and support them. Let’s pull together and do all we can to support them.
“Many of us will be staying put this year so we have the chance to get out and about and enjoy what the Island has to offer. With the birthing season continuing through August, there’s still a chance of catching a glimpse of a brand-new baby llama or alpaca so if you haven’t visited the farm before maybe it’s time to experience something new.”