This center is a comfortable home for over 600 donkeys which have been mistreated, neglected or simply retired from work. Sin... More
This center is a comfortable home for over 600 donkeys which have been mistreated, neglected or simply retired from work. Since it opened in 1969, over 8000 animals have been cared for. There are five different planned walks to enjoy and dogs on leads are welcomed. A Nature Center and conservation area add to the scope of your visit and there is also a restaurant. You may also visit the EST Center, which is a purpose built riding arena, catering for children with special needs and disabilities. There is no charge to visit this worthwhile and interesting establishment, but the pleasure the donkeys are sure to give may prompt you to make a donation.
Problems at the Sanctuary - Poor Staff Attitude at Hayloft Restaurant.
When I walk round the farms at the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary the first impression is of a generally well run charity that cares for donkeys both in this country and overseas.
However from my own experiences the Hayloft Restaurant really lets the Donkey Sanctuary down. I used to visit the restaurant on a daily basis but as low season progressed with less customers Hayloft staff seemed to want to leave early. I was told off by the Hayloft chef for ordering food five minutes before the food cut off point. During visits in November many of the Hayloft restaurant lights were deliberately turned off by staff half an hour before closure, this made it uncomfortable for customers who left early. On my last November visit I was met with a closed sign on the main door, the sign was turned to closed over an hour before the Hayloft restaurant was supposed to be shut, and all but one of the restaurant staff had gone off home.
I raised my concerns with the Donkey Sanctuary Chief Executive as I could not be sure when I should travel as the restaurant was keeping erratic hours. As a local Sidmouth resident, I liked to support the sanctuary and by visiting its restaurant on a daily basis. The Chief Executives’ reply to me was simple, that he didn't accept my disparaging remarks, he didn't seem to want to understand the fact that I was a local daily visitor merely recounting my own experiences.
Perhaps the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary should do more to address concerns from its own supporters and accept when things go wrong and when necessary retrain its staff.
The Donkey Sanctuary must always remember that it relies on the loyalty of its supporters.