Trade Secretary Liz Truss thanks fundraisers during visit to Banham Zoo
Trade Secretary Liz Truss has thanked fundraisers for their efforts in pulling Banham Zoo through the coronavirus crisis.
The MP for South West Norfolk was joined by her family on Saturday July 3 during a visit to the zoo, which has relied on the charitable efforts of supporters during the lockdown.
The cabinet minister, who spent the morning visiting nearby shops and pubs, stressed the importance of the zoo as an educational resource and tourist attraction.
“I’m really proud [of my constituents] – there’s been amazing contributions in all kinds of ways, whether it’s producing hand sanitiser, supplying food for the NHS, or support for this zoo, and I’m really proud of what they have done,” said the 44-year-old.
“It’s really important that we all support local attractions – this is a really great zoo, with lots of fantastic animals to see and lots of learning available for children.
“It is a real educational resource, as well as being an animal conservation resource and, of course, a great tourist attraction as well.
“It’s really important that we encourage tourists to come back to Norfolk, and encourage people to enjoy summer in a safe way.”
The zoo was celebrating its reopening after more than three months of lost revenue, which could not be subsidised by the Government as it did not meet the necessary criteria.
Claudia Roberts, managing director for commercial business operations at Banham Zoo, said that, while the fundraising campaign had proved an essential lifeline, the future of the zoo was by no means secure.
“It’s really great to be back open – we’re overwhelmed,” she said. “It’s nice to see it all full again, and the animals are responding really well, so we’re very pleased.
“We’ve got a long winter ahead of us, so we need to make hay while the sun shines. It’s been incredibly difficult on a financial angle – it was only a matter of weeks ago that we had just seven weeks of cash left and we’d been turned down for both government support grants.
“Fingers crossed, there will be lots of people coming to see us, because we rely completely and utterly on income from our visitors.”