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Failed bid to save Somerset rescue centre leaves staff jobless, but animals saved

Heaven's Gate near Langport has rescued and provided homes for cats and dogs. Credit: ITV West Country

Staff members from an animal rescue centre in Somerset have lost their jobs, as the Trust in charge of the site cannot afford to keep it open.

But there is good news for the animals, who have been saved by the purchase of the site.

In September it was announced Heaven's Gate Farm near Langport needed half a million pounds to stay open because it wasn't making enough money to make ends meet.

Devastated staff members launched a fundraising appeal in the hope of saving the centre, which provides specialist care for local dogs and cats.

Now it has been revealed that Heavens's Gate, which is run by the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT), has been sold to another local charity but staff members have been made redundant.

More than 30 people have lost their jobs at the centre. Credit: ITV West Country

Rushton Dog Rescue, also based in Somerset, has purchased the centre so work can continue in the area to rescue and re-home animals in need.

The NAWT said trustees were "pleased" with the purchase because the site can continue to operate as a rescue and rehoming centre in Somerset.

But members of the Trust added it was "regrettable" that it wasn't possible to save any of the jobs at Heaven's Gate, and said those affected have been informed.

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NAWT Chair of Trustees Laura Magee said: "Whilst this is good news for the animals at Heaven’s Gate and for the local community, it is sad news for the loyal and dedicated Heaven’s Gate staff."

She continued, "They have been incredibly patient and unswerving in their care of the animals throughout this period of uncertainty and NAWT will continue to support them at this difficult time."

The NAWT also said local supporters and volunteers at Heaven's Gate will have the opportunity to continue their work.