Holmes Chapel Zoo - A Community Zoo at Risk

by Melissa Jane Mews in Crewe, Cheshire East, United Kingdom

Holmes Chapel Zoo - A Community Zoo at Risk

Total raised £352

raised so far



Holmes Chapel Zoo is struggling financially and needs help to survive the winter months.

by Melissa Jane Mews in Crewe, Cheshire East, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 26th January 2024 we'd raised £352 with 18 supporters in 56 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Dear friends and supporters,

Hi my name is Melissa and I'm fundraising for Holmes Chapel Zoo, a little zoo based in Cheshire. This winter, with the animals in place and the zoo still not allowed to open to the public, we are struggling financially. 

It breaks my heart to be writing this. 

Here's our back story explaining our journey and why we remain closed:

Children Meeting Drake, Our Royal Python SnakeFor years I have cherished a dream: to establish a local community zoo that would serve as a beacon of animal care, conservation, and education. Since 2012 I have lead a dedicated team at Zoo2U, a conservation education company that has been reaching out to local communities. Our mission has always been to inspire and educate, fostering a deep connection between people and the natural world.

Ben and Melissa Mews, at the site of Holmes Chapel ZooIn March 2022, my dream took a leap towards reality when my husband and I secured a 2-acre plot of land, a cornerstone for what we envisioned would be the site for Holmes Chapel Zoo – a sanctuary of learning and connection. But today, this dream and the welfare of our beloved animals are at risk.

The Dream and The Setback:

Artist Impression of Holmes Chapel Zoo Entrance

In May 2022, our hearts brimming with enthusiasm, we swiftly moved forward, submitting our planning application. This wasn't just a step towards expanding our business – it was the manifestation of a dream to create a space where the community could intimately connect with nature. We were so excited to be able to offer something back to our local community. We hoped to showcase a journey to 100% sustainability within the zoo, have active involvement in conservation of UK and exotic species and educate our visitors on ways to combat climate change at home, no matter their age.

Unfortunately, in March 2023, after a long 10 month wait, we were met with a heart-wrenching setback: our application was denied due to unforeseen complications related to our landlord's property. This has placed our cherished project on hold because without planning, we are not allowed to open our doors to the public. We continue to wait for these issues to be resolved and are busy preparing for a revised planning application. Whilst our site remains unopened, we continue to incur significant financial losses and we now find ourselves in a precarious position, struggling to fund the essential care for our animals and to support our devoted staff.

Our Beloved Animals Need Your Help:

Melissa Mews with Neo the MeerkatAt Holmes Chapel Zoo, our animals are not just residents; they're part of our family. They are the very soul of our zoo and I wish I could introduce each of you to them personally. Each animal holds a special place in our story, none more so than our founding individuals such as Jelani our 12 year old Eagle Owl, Herbert our first ever tortoise, Neo our 10 year old alpha male meerkat and Milo our 9 year old cheeky parrot.

No matter their size or species, we're dedicated to ensuring their well-being and continuing to provide them with the highest standard of care. Our team of devoted staff members are working tirelessly. We also continue our important educational outreach programs through Zoo2U, but this isn't enough to cover our costs. Without financial support, we are struggling and face an uphill battle in ensuring the continued care and enrichment for our beloved animals.

A call for your kind support:

This is where we turn to you, our community, for your support. You have already amazed us with your kindness and generosity through the pandemic. Now, in this festive season of goodwill, while we are powerless to do anything more towards being allowed to open, we are hoping that we can reach out for your support once more.

Kinta the KookaburraTojo the Tenrec

We understand that times are tough for us all, but your contribution, no matter how small, can make a significant difference and is a lifeline for us. It can help us:

  • Provide vital care such as heat, food, bedding, medical care, and shelter for our animals during these tough winter months of uncertainty.
  • Retain our dedicated staff who work tirelessly for the welfare of our residents.
  • Keeping alive the hope that Holmes Chapel Zoo will soon be given the opportunity to open its doors to the community offering a place of learning and enjoyment for all.

A Personal Plea:

Ben and Melissa Mews at Holmes Chapel ZooYour support is more than just financial aid; it's a statement of belief in our vision. It's a lifeline for our animals and a spark of hope for our team. Together, we can ensure that the dream of Holmes Chapel Zoo, born from the legacy of Zoo2U, continues to thrive.

In Conclusion:

Every donation, no matter it’s size, brings us closer to overcoming our financial challenges. With your support, we can maintain our commitment to conservation, education and of course to our beloved animals. We eagerly await the day when we can open our gates and welcome you to Holmes Chapel Zoo – which will be a testament to the power of community and shared dreams.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kindness and generosity, and for standing with us during this challenging time.

Rare Breed Scottish Soay Sheep Flock at Holmes Chapel Zoo

With deepest gratitude and warmth,

Melissa Mews, Director, Holmes Chapel Zoo


This project offered rewards

£10 or more

£10 Reward

£10 will help us feed our little guinea pig herd for a week! In this cold weather, we need to make sure our little furry friends have enough to eat to help them stay warm and 6 hungry little bellies will be so grateful. As a thank you, we will send you an electronic guinea pig bronze annual adoption pack worth £30. We will give you a shout out on our fb page too!

£5 or more

£5 reward

£5 will help us feed Mason our Chameleon for a whole week, or it will supply a week’s worth of salad leaves for the baby red footed tortoises. Don’t underestimate the power of a ‘small’ donation. As a thank you, we will give you a shout out on our fb page too!

£25 or more

£25 Reward

£25 will help us feed all of our birds of prey for a week! During the cold winter months, their food is increased to help them keep warm, right down to their little sharp toes! As a thank you, we will post out to you a kookaburra OR owl gold annual adoption pack worth £55, which entitles you to visit your adopted bird twice over the 12 month period. Please specify which pack you would like. You will also get a shout out on our fb page!

£50 or more

£50 Reward

£50 will help us feed our 4 meerkats and 2 skunks for a week! You’re probably surprised at this cost for just 6 animals, but bugs, meat, vegetables and fruit have all increased in price recently. As a thank you, we will give you full access to our meerkat live cam for a day, so you can watch them eat all that lovely food (and probably ride around on the tortoises too)! We will give you a shout out on our fb page, or course!

£100 or more

£100 Reward

£100 will help us provide fresh bedding for a whole month to our entire reptile and invertebrate collection. We love our cold-blooded family members just as much as the fur and feathered ones! As a thank you, we will invite you and your family to a private tour of the exotics house, where these animals live. This will be led by their keeper and will only be available once our planning permission has been passed. That shout out on fb is a given!

£200 or more

£200 Reward

£200 will enable us to buy enrichment for every animal which will last a whole month or more! Our parrots, mammals, birds of prey, and reptiles all enjoy mental stimulation and we enrich their lives with lots of different items, such as novel toys, novel food items, food dispensers, and much more. As a thank you, we will put your name on our website as a champion of animal welfare at Holmes Chapel Zoo, plus of course a shout out on our fb page.

£400 or more

£400 Reward

A whopping £400 will enable us to provide heat for a whole winter month to all of our creatures that need to be snuggly and warm (there’s a fair few!). Our electric bill is huge but they're worth it! As a thank you, we will offer you 2 family annual passes to enjoy with your loved ones, what better way to stay connected with family! The passes will be valid for 12 months from the first day of the zoo opening.

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