Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation in Eynsford, near Dartford, launches fundraiser for new roof

A wildlife sanctuary says it “cannot continue to exist” unless it raises £100,000 for a new roof following a devastating flood.

Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation in Eynsford, near Dartford, is appealing for donations after a downpour led to a huge leak in its tearoom.

The roof, which is now “no longer fit for purpose”, also houses its gift shop, toilets, office and indoor flying area.

Director Samantha Leonard says there have been a lot of leaks and damage throughout the years, and the replacement has been a “long time coming”.

Eagle Heights Director Samantha Leonard. Picture: Eagle Heights

She told KentOnline: “Due to the age of the roof, it’s nearly 60 years old, fixing it is just not the most cost effective way of dealing with the problem.

“It does need to be replaced and obviously from an economic point of view we need to make the right decision – that we don’t keep wasting money putting plasters over a leak.”

On Saturday (June 15) an “unseasonable downpour” meant a new leak appeared in the tearoom in the middle of an afternoon tea session.

Samantha explained: “We got a lot of rain in a very short amount of time. What that did was show us how many leaks there really are in the roof.

“On Saturday there was water pouring in through one of the light fittings and we just realised that we can’t continue trying to patch it, it does need to be replaced.”

Eagle Heights is one of the UK’s largest bird of prey centres, with more than 50 species.

It also has meerkats, alpacas, huskies, and pigs at the site, many of which have been rescued from unwanted homes and difficult situations.

Its mission is to educate people and inspire them to get involved with nature and enjoy the outdoors, while providing an “enjoyable day out.”

The sanctuary is home to more than 50 species. Picture: Eagle Heights

Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation in Eynsford has alpacas at the site. Picture: Eagle Heights

While the building no longer houses animals, the indoor facilities have been described as “vital” to the sanctuary’s future.

Samantha added: “Without those things, we cannot continue to operate and serve the community”.

The sanctuary has set up a Gofundme with the aim of raising £100,000 to completely replace the roof, however this figure is not yet set in stone.

“A nearby building which is identical to ours paid around £100,000 to have its roof replaced,” Samantha explained.

“But as a non-profit we’re hoping we can get a much more reasonable and reachable quote.”

Eagle Heights also has pigs

An owl at Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation

“Once we’ve had a few quotes I will adjust that target but that’s kind of a ballpark for now. Hopefully it does come in quite a bit less than that.”

The centre also plans to run a number of fundraising events such as a barbeque or quiz night.

Samantha said; “I’m putting feelers out at the moment for what people actually enjoy attending. At the moment it’s all a bit up in the air because it happened so quickly.

“At the moment we don’t have a timeframe, it depends on how we get on with our fundraising.

“Obviously there’s no safety issues with the roof at the moment, it’s just the fact that it leaks heavily in places.

Huskies at Eagle Heights in Eynsford

A vulture at Eagle Heights

“We’re hoping that by the time we raise enough money we’ll be at a point where it’s not become unsafe because if that does happen we would obviously have to close and that would be disastrous.

“But for now, we’re just focusing on fundraising. We want a new roof as soon as possible.”


Courtesy of Kent Online